Anyone up for an altitude adjustment?


Free flights give kids a love for the skies


Being chauffeured in a private airplane is a privilege generally reserved for corporate honchos, rock stars and the really, really rich. Now, it's also for regular kids.

The Experimental Aircraft Association's Young Eagles Chapter 101 will be offering Chicago area kids ages 8-17 free rides on Sept. 7 at the Schaumburg Regional Airport.

"This event is part of a worldwide program designed to introduce kids to flight," says Robert "Butch" Bejna, coordinator of the chapter. "Pilots enjoy sharing what they love and showing kids what's out there."

The goal of the EAA Young Eagles Free Flight program is to give 1 million kids airplane rides with licensed volunteer pilots by December, the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' first flight.

Participants will first go through a flight school, where they will learn about flying, the equipment and, perhaps most importantly, safety in flight. After the ground school, each child is assigned a pilot. Only one or two kids will fly at a time, depending on the size of the plane.

Following the flight, each new "Young Eagle" will receive a certificate. Their names also will be added to the "World's Largest" Flight Log Book on the Young Eagles Web site and at the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wis.

The Young Eagles program is sponsored by the Experimental Aircraft Association Foundation, a nonprofit organization "dedicated to the discovery and fulfillment of individual potential through personal flight." More information on the EAA and the Young Eagles program is available on the Web at

EAA Young Eagles Chapter 101 also makes free flights available to school groups and other organizations that want to make separate arrangements for a flight.

Free flights are scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Schaumburg Regional Airport, 905 W. Irving Park Rd., Schaumburg. Reservations are required. Additional free flight dates are planned for the first Sunday of every month through the year. For information or a reservation, contact Bejna, after 6 p.m., Monday-Friday, at (630) 543-9213.


-- Lenna Scott


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