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Introducing The Bahamas Youth to the Wonders of General Aviation

Twenty Two Students From Across Long Island discover the wonders of General Aviation in Experimental Aviation Association’s Young Eagles Program.

Twenty two kids from Long Island, Bahamas, are going to have quite a story to share during “show n tell” when they return to school after the summer break.  These kids ranging in ages between 9 and 17 took part in the Young Eagles Program that was launched in Long Island, Bahamas at the Stella Maris Airport, Friday, June 29th.

The kids were all given airplane rides in five planes that took part in the EAA Young Eagles program. Young Eagles is part of the organization’s initiative to get kids between the ages of 8 and 17, involved in flying and in the aviation business.

EAA is an international aviation membership association that boasts more than 170,000 members since its formation in 1953.  The Association’s Young Eagles Program in addition to introducing young kids to the world of aviation has other initiatives.  Young Eagles initiatives include helping to provide scholarships for students who are excelling in school and learning those skills that are needed in the field of aviation.

Long Island students lined up early on Friday morning for an opportunity to take part in the Young Eagles program.  The students arrived at the Stella Maris Airport from settlements throughout North and Central Long Island as far as Deadman’s Cay.  The kids were first given a basic training on airplanes and then waited patiently for a turn to enjoy an airplane ride.

Each of the kids returning to the airport following their flight had a special story to tell. Many of them said that their favorite part was flying over their home and other familiar spots in their neighborhood.  Some of the kids bragged about sitting in the cockpit and co-piloting the plane.  One of the few female Young Eagles students that flew, Yvoneisha Smith, spoke excitedly about flying over the beautiful, clear Bahamian waters and spotting a stingray.

Nine year old Isaac Smith was the youngest of the students to fly on Friday.  The first to be taken up, Isaac now has the distinction of being the First and the Youngest Bahamian to take part in the Young Eagles Program ever.

As the lead organizer of the event, “Mike Z” was happy with the overall success.  He shared his vision to see Fly-In Young Eagles programs on all of the major Islands Of The Bahamas.  He also said that the success of the Long Island program will be broadcast at the upcoming EAA Air Venture show in Oshkosh, WI.  The week long show which takes place  July 22nd through 30th, is dubbed the world’s largest aviation celebration with an attendance of more than 500,000 during the week long period and 10,000 plus aircraft of every description.

A Florida based general aviation pilot and member of EAA,  “Mike Z” said that “publishing information on the success of the program with the children in Long Island will encourage EAA member chapters throughout the country to adopt a program with students on other Bahamian Islands.  Giving pilots yet another reason to fly to The Bahamas.”

The organizers of the Young Eagles event credited Friday’s success to the participation of volunteers including, the pilots, professional photographers and others providing administrative assistance. Among the pilots, and volunteers taking part in the program from EAA Chapter 1178 were Peter Vanspunsen and Troy Techeau. .