General Aviation

Published on February 4th, 2017 | by Mark Dwyer


EAA Young Eagles Day at Coonagh

On Saturday 14th January the Limerick Flying Club based at Coonagh hosted a Young Eagles Day and what a day it was! The weather even behaved for what was without doubt one of the most exciting days at Coonagh in a very long time when almost thirty-five transition year students arrived at the club where they were given their boarding passes and allocated a pilot. Soon they were airborne in every aircraft based at the club!  Tecnams, Sportcruiser, Citabria, Aeronca, Cessna 172, Samba, Luton all took to the air and flew their excited passengers around and over the city.

The Limerick Flying Club team that organised the event

The brainchild of Gerry Ryan, The Experimental Association Chapter 1597 Limerick offered these introductory flights to young people at Ard Scoil Ris, which was accepted with great enthusiasm by teachers, students and parents alike. Thank you to all the pilots, instructors, and ‘ground crew’ who did a very fine job of marshalling all the passengers! Special thanks must go to Gerry & Orla Ryan, Leah, Rev, Ned, Bob and others.

Young Eagles is a program created by the US Experimental Aircraft Association designed to give children between the ages of 8 to 17 an opportunity to experience flight in a general aviation airplane while educating them about aviation. The program is offered free of charge with costs covered by the volunteers. It was launched in 1992 and, by 2016, has flown more than 2 million children in 90 countries.

The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is an international organisation of aviation enthusiasts based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Since its inception it has grown internationally with over 180,000 members and nearly 1,000 chapters worldwide.

More than 43,000 pilots have participated in the program, donating their time and paying the full cost of providing the flights for the children in their own or rented aircraft. In March 2004, actor and pilot Harrison Ford became Chairman of the Young Eagles program. Ford has flown more than 300 Young Eagles in several airplanes. Ford finished his five-year term in 2009. In September 2009, Captain Chesley Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles who became famous in the US Airways Flight 1549 Hudson River ditching on 15th January 2009, were named as the program’s new co-chairmen. In July 2013 Sean D. Tucker replaced Sullenberger and Skiles as chairman.

The whole event featured on TG4 and RTE Nuacht and a fine segment by Rev on YouTube (see below)! We hope this fine effort will pay off in the future with some new members and budding pilots.

New EAA Chapter 1597 – Limerick

The Experimental Aviation Association (EAA) has chapters all over the world where aviation enthusiasts gather on a monthly basis to talk flying and listen to knowledgeable people giving presentations on aviation related topics, from flying in other countries, building your own aeroplane, rescue operations and much more. Meetings of the Limerick Chapter 1597 meet on the first Tuesday of each month and if you are interested in joining contact Gerry Ryan 086-2220680

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About the Author

Mark is an airline pilot flying the Boeing 737 for a major European airline. In addition he is also a Type Rating Instructor, Type Rating Examiner and Base Training Captain on the B737. Outside of commercial flying Mark enjoys flying light aircraft from the smallest 3 Axis microlights up to heavier singles. He is also an instructor and EASA Examiner on single engines and a UK CAA Examiner. He flies the Chipmunk for the Irish Historic Flight Foundation (IHFF). Mark became the Chairman of the National Microlight Association of Ireland (NMAI) in 2013 and has overseen a massive growth in the organisation. In this role he has worked at local and national levels. In 2015, Mark won ‘Upcoming Aviation Professional Award’ at the Aviation Industry Awards sponsored by the IAA. Mark launched this website back in 2002 while always managing the website, he has also been Editor and Deputy Editor of FlyingInIreland Magazine from 2005 to 2015.

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