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I’m a huge advocate of hands-on learning experiences.  Whenever an opportunity comes along where our kids can try something new, I try to take it.  I know for us, one of the most exciting field trips we’ve ever been on was when my 13-year-old son got to fly an airplane!

A High Flying Learning Experience

I was fortunate to stumble upon the Young Eagle’s Program on Facebook.  A pilot in our area named Jeff Ostrander was advertising this experience in a local homeschooling group.   The words “FREE AIRPLANE RIDE” caught my attention.  I emailed him and discovered that yes, a free ride was being offered with no strings attached.  Little did I know that there was SO MUCH MORE to this program.

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When we first arrived, my sons were understandably nervous.  Jeff talked to us about the Young Eagle’s program and how their goal is to get kids interested in flight – and possibly in becoming a pilot someday.  After signing a few forms, we were out on the tarmac and he was showing the boys how to inspect the plane.

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I was super impressed with the amount of time he took explaining things to the boys and making this into a true learning experience.  He also answered all of their questions patiently.

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Of course, we had to get a photo of them in front of the airplane before they went up in the air.

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We got a photo of our entire family in front of the airplane as well.  My husband was taking flying lessons when we first met so seeing his boys go up in an airplane was a very special experience for him.

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First, Jeff made sure the boys were secured properly.  This is always a good thing for a mom to observe when both of her sons are heading off into the great blue yonder.

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Sam was pretty excited about this.  He was eager to sit in front so he would have a good view.  Ben wasn’t so sure about the whole thing.

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Here’s Jeff making sure the boys can hear him through their headphones.

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As they taxied down the runway, I felt my heart beating out of my chest.  I was SO EXCITED for them.  But I was also realizing I had just let some guy I don’t even know take off with my boys in an airplane!  Yikes!

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And they’re up!  Praise the Lord, they made it off the ground safely.  I know enough about flying to know that takeoffs and landings are usually the most dangerous part.  Pshew!

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They flew around for about half an hour and then they came back to the airport.  I had no idea that my youngest son was the one flying the plane at this point.  As soon as they were in the air, Jeff let him take over the controls and he did the steering.  This was a HUGE THRILL for my son that I don’t think he’ll ever forget.

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Back on the ground, my oldest son enjoyed the ride – but he was also relieved once his feet were back on solid ground.  It probably didn’t help that his younger brother was doing the flying.  LOL

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And here was our new pilot in the making.  Sam was absolutely thrilled and I think he grew 2 inches that day.

Amazingly, there was more than just one airplane ride in store for my boys.  They were given information which entitled them to do all of their ground school training online FOR FREE.  This is another incredible aspect of the Young Eagle’s program.  Sam has taken advantage of this opportunity and has been doing his ground school training all year for Science.  This has been a unique way for him to learn about something that truly interests him and which may be extremely beneficial for him someday.

If your child would like to learn even more about becoming a pilot, you can turn this experience into a unit study by purchasing this amazing Pilot Academy Activity Book which where he will learn skills used by real-life helicopter, airline, and jet pilots, such as how to navigate, take off and land aircraft, test his hand-eye coordination, make a roto-copter, and lots more.

Pilot Academy

If you have a child who might also be interested in checking out this program, you can do so on their website. Or click here to find a pilot who participates in this program.

A High Flying Learning Experience

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Question:  What’s the most exciting field trip your family has been on?  Has your child ever expressed an interest in flying?  Please leave a comment below.