Getting the Young People Involved

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The challenges we face today in getting the young to be involved with aviation is a daunting one. It’s hard enough to get them to put down their mobile phones and stop texting long enough to see the value in it. With XBOX 360 and Nintendo Wii we have even greater challenges. When we were young there was not a whole lot to do besides play outside and build model planes. We spent our summers fishing and playing cowboys and Indians. Attending an air show was a great thrill to us. The young people today have so many distractions that interesting them in a, difficult, expensive but worthwhile activity, such as flying is daunting. As a web community of pilots the burden falls on us to find the solution. Many of us could say we love the idea but do not have the time for it. We must make time if we are going to win the war against useless pursuits such as mentioned above. Being a pilot in of itself is a great self esteem builder. Many of our young people are lead down the rocky path of alcohol and drugs because of this. Teen pregnancy is becoming epidemic. These youth need something in their lives that they are not getting from society. Remember when you earned your wings? Was it not one of the greatest accomplishments of your life? Lets find a way to bring these lost youths into aviation.
 

Way2Broke

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It has become way to expensive to be a hobby for a kid, much less a adult. A X-box is about 300 bucks I think and provides hours and hours of entertainment, and a 172 is about 150 or more dollars a hour. If you were a middle income parent, what would you pick, 2 hours, or many many hours.

I do agree with your sentiment, but its pretty hard to go to the airport and wash planes and earn your ratings anymore.
 

avbug

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The Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program still works just fine.
 

TWA

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The Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program still works just fine.
Depends on where you are. In Ohio the most action the cadets see are a few "introductory rides". In the 7 years that I have seen the CAP operate here, I have never seen a cadet receive any worthwhile instruction.
 

avbug

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The problem in that case isn't the program, but it's the people who aren't getting involved in order to make it better. The program is only as good as the leadership, and those who take the time to make it work.

It's a little like watching a faucet drip and noting that "that's not a good faucet because it drips."

If one obtains a wrench and fixes the faucet with a little attention and care, it may well be the best faucet there is.

The cadet program offers young people a fantastic avenue for an introduction to aviation, and works very, very well. It's success, however, is due in part to the enthusiasm of the participants and largely due to the devotion given by senior members. In those areas where the senior membership lacks the participation necessary to carry the program, the cadets suffer. The best way to cure that is to jump in and make a change.
 
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There are so many rural airports where pilots gather. Every one that I have met is more than willing to give a ride to a youth. By networking in this way many doors do open for chances to learn to fly. I spent my first 2 years just hanging around airports. It lead me to a CFI who owned a Cessna 150 and was willing to let me help with the upkeep in return for flying lessons. It does still happen though I agree with Avbug it is a lot harder these days.

By the way, I now have owned that 150 for 7 years now. I did my first solo in N**175 and have about 400 hours in it now.
 

avbug

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Then consider the EAA Young Eagles program.

I used to do boy scout aviation merit badges, and offer rides to any scout that got his merit badge. It's how I got my first ride.

Offer to make presentations or teach classes at local high schools or junior high schools.

Get into flight instruction; develop programs for youth.

Keep writing. You can find all sorts of ways to share what you enjoy, limited only by your imagination.
 

TWA

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Scout groups are the best to target and work with in my opinion. My brother and I (both Eagle Scouts) conduct Aviation Merit Badge classes for the Boy Scouts in our area.

The age group that should be targeted is 12+. That way, they are old enough to realistically start looking at instruction (or airport bumming). From what I've seen with the local EAA chapter, whenever they do Young Eagles, they market it as "Free Airplane Rides". Unfortunately, this attracts a crowd of normally 10 years or younger. Yes, they might enjoy the airplane ride, but it doesn't really interest them enough in becoming a pilot; unless of course they already have an interest walking in. I would (and have) try to change it, but a group of older, retired, gentlemen have the program pretty well grasped, and are not open to new ideas. Possibly in a few years there will be opportunities for some younger blood to take the reigns, and make it a more useful tool to help sustain the local aviation community.
 
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jmreii

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The many attractions and distractions that teenagers go through and experience these days, aviation will have to get in line and see if anyone is interested. If they are interested, fine. If not that is fine as well.

When I was a teenager learning to fly, because I liked and paid for it, many parents forced their kids to take flying lessons. Some got their licenses and some did not. Many of these people do not fly at all as adults.
You have to want to do it.
 

Way2Broke

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Back when I was CFIing I got a few younger students. The problem was that they never studied, and most of them stopped after a few lessons when the parents started to get sticker shock.

This was at a uncontrolled airport, and the only "airport kid" that went on to work in aviation from back then is now a FO. Did I mention his dad owned the flight school.

I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade, but with flight schools being forced to charge what they do these days because of insurance, gas, etc its tough to mooch your way through some ratings. Sure you might be able to get some hours from a guy like yourself, but as a parent you have to be careful who you let you kid take "free" instruction from. Insurance coverage for a plane that is going to be doing flight instruction is pretty darn expensive compared to your basic converage. God forbid something ever happened and you were not covered for that type of flying and the insurance provider refused to pay for anything.

I too never saw a real active CAP program. Back when I was CFIing I looked into the program, and offered to do some instructing for them, but the older guys in charge thought that 172 was a 747, and their only interest was getting theirselves up in the air for free. I agree that when done right the CAP could be a great opportunity for a kid though.

This post sounds very negative, and I really didn't mean it too. I'm not saying that your not doing a great thing helping kids get into aviation, because you are. Thank you for that!!!

I honestly think the best way to "get into aviation" these days is to go military. At least that way you do not come of of the learning experience so broke that you will have a hard time enjoying your accomplishments.
 
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Way2Broke

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You have to want to do it.
Exactly. Take the kids to the airport when they are still very young. Let them watch the planes take off and land. When they get a little older, it will be something that sticks, or it doesn't. It's kinda like this, if you take a kid to a baseball game, chances are they are going to want to be a baseball player. Maybe they will do some little league action, but not many people play in they majors, or even play in high school for that matter.

Expose your kids to alot of things, and let them pick what they are interested in. Nothing worse than the kid :"that is playing baseball because that is what his parents want him to do."
 
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All very true. We faced many challenges when we learned to fly. However, life is one challenge after another. We must show the youth the value of being a pilot. We must find ways to help them afford training. The best way I have found is to network with the local hanger bum's and go from there. It is most certainly a time commitment, but to achieve any worth while goal takes time.
 

Way2Broke

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David,

I love your attitude! I really do. I think what you are doing is nothing less than awesome. Don't read my posts the wrong way, mostly I'm just playing Devil's advocate. I wish it was as simple as it use to be, and I feel that way about alot of things. All I am getting at is that when I first started out I wish someone would have been more honest with me, but then again I got caught up in the advertisements in the flying magazines. How many people will admit to that?
 
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David,

I love your attitude! I really do. I think what you are doing is nothing less than awesome. Don't read my posts the wrong way, mostly I'm just playing Devil's advocate. I wish it was as simple as it use to be, and I feel that way about alot of things. All I am getting at is that when I first started out I wish someone would have been more honest with me, but then again I got caught up in the advertisements in the flying magazines. How many people will admit to that?
I have appreciated your candid comments on learning to fly. We all know that the goal sometimes seemed to be insurmountable. I know from personal experience that it is possible to train for far less than what flight schools charge. There are a lot of people just like you who would help if they knew of the need. Most of us are doing fairly well financially now. Many like myself own trainers. They are cheap to operate and could be made available to deserving youths.
 

Some guy

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The challenges we face today in getting the young to be involved with aviation is a daunting one. It’s hard enough to get them to put down their mobile phones and stop texting long enough to see the value in it. With XBOX 360 and Nintendo Wii we have even greater challenges. When we were young there was not a whole lot to do besides play outside and build model planes. We spent our summers fishing and playing cowboys and Indians. Attending an air show was a great thrill to us.
No more model airplanes because the glue can't be sold to kids. Fishing is bad because of the mercury and pollution in the water. Kids can't play as cowboys anymore because toys guns might offend someone. You can't use the word indian anymore. Airshows cost too much with parking and entrance fees and the $5 drinks (because you can't bring your own anymore).

Obviously I'm just poking fun
 
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No more model airplanes because the glue can't be sold to kids. Fishing is bad because of the mercury and pollution in the water. Kids can't play as cowboys anymore because toys guns might offend someone. You can't use the word indian anymore. Airshows cost too much with parking and entrance fees and the $5 drinks (because you can't bring your own anymore).

Obviously I'm just poking fun
Oh, you can buy glue, it just doesn't stick anything together. Airshows are too much flash. What young people need to see it what could be a possible goal. Flying with the Blue Angles would be great, but not really gonna happen. Maybe 1:4,584,347 odds.

By the way, in grade school we were the Wiley Post Elementry School Blue Angles. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma k-6.
 
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I just had the greatist honor an author can have. I delivered a free signed copy of my book "Dogs Don't Fly" to my 12 year old 3rd cousin. I hope it inspires him to learn to fly. I hope some day I can give my book to all deserving youths.
 
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A local Catholic school is having an auction and has asked me for a signed copy of my book for a bundle of children’s books to be auctioned. They also asked if I knew anyone who would offer 1 hour of flight time to be auctioned. I volunteered to give 1 hour in my Cessna 150. What a great opportunity to put my ideas in place.
 
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