EAA's Air Academy Lifts Young People to New Heights


By Jeff Skiles, EAA 336120
EAA Vice President of Chapters and Youth Education

March 6, 2012 - EAA is an organization that serves a broad and diverse membership. Because of this, many EAA members aren't aware of the breadth of programs and services that EAA provides to represent our interests. I would like to share with you over time some of the many facets of our organization. Today, I'd like to talk about EAA Air Academy.

For 10 weeks of the summer, our Air Academy Lodge at Pioneer Airport is filled with Air Academy campers. We can serve 56 young people per week at maximum occupancy, and it's always full. The Air Academy Lodge was donated to EAA by the generosity of James Ray and acts as home base for the many activities in which campers take part.

Air Academy is a wonderful immersive experience in aviation for the lucky young people who participate. And I say "lucky" because we have a waiting list for most sessions.

The program is divided up into three age groups (12-13, 14-15, and 16-18) with only one age group in residence at any one time. The program includes flights with licensed flight instructors in one of EAA's Cessna Skycatchers and also in EAA's Bell 47 helicopter. The curriculum includes extensive simulator work and aviation-themed activities appropriate for each age group.

Chapters and Young Eagles pilots can use their accumulated Young Eagles credits to offset the cost of Air Academy for the young people they may choose to sponsor. And beyond that, EAA administers a number of scholarship opportunities for the Air Academy funded by donors who see value in the program. Air Academy is a fantastic opportunity for aviation-minded young people.

Please share this with your chapter members, and visit the Air Academy website for more information on how to apply and scholarships available.