The Young Eagles program was designed to encourage young people to experience flying for themselves. Young Eagles start with your local Aero Club. It provides the opportunity for young people to consider flying for sport and recreation or a career as a Commercial Pilot. An added bonus is it enables them to have some fun while learning about aviation.
The scheme originated with the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) in the USA. The Royal New Zealand Aero Club (Flying NZ) adapted the EAA program to suit the New Zealand environment and the existing Aero Club structure. The recommended age for participating is 14 – 18 years however some programs do take on younger than 14. In April 2020 there were a total of 17 Aero Clubs with Young Eagles programs and total enrolments exceeded 350.
Flying NZ encourages the participants to continue, coordinating and supporting a system of Flight Leaders or Young Eagle Coordinators, at individual Aero Clubs. These qualified pilots are Aero Club members who volunteer to support the program in their local Aero Club.
The Young Eagles program includes a variety of activities designed to interest and teach the participants throughout the program and to maintain their interest and membership through to age 15, at which time the Young Eagles qualify to apply for one of the scholarships on offer.
Many Young Eagles graduates have continued on to a career in an aviation-related field, be that as a pilot, an engineer, an air traffic controller or in any of the myriad of roles in aviation.
WHO IS FLYING NZ
The Royal New Zealand Aero Club Inc was founded in 1930 and was given Royal recognition in 1938. It represents 44 member clubs from Kaitaia to Invercargill. In 2005, the trading name Flying NZ was adopted, to better show how what we do and where.
Flying NZ is responsible for promoting sport and recreational flying at the Aero Clubs throughout New Zealand. Flying NZ is the FAI- Federation Aeronautique Internationale representative.
The FAI is the world sport aviation organisation that controls international aviation sporting events and aviation records.
WHY WOULD I WANT TO BECOME A YOUNG EAGLE
You get the opportunity to:
Have rides in aircraft
Meet other young people interested in aviation
Go on visits to places you would not normally get to see including
Air Traffic Control centres such as the Towers
Maintenance bases and aircraft engineering shops
Air New Zealand aircraft up close
Meet aviation professionals such as airline and airforce pilots
You can earn NCEA credits for some Young Eagle activities
Scholarships are available each year to six Young Eagles to continue training towards a Pilot’s Licence
DO I GET TO FLY A PLANE?
As the Pilot in Command – sorry not yet! But many Clubs do provide training flights for their Young Eagles and you will get to ride along in the aircraft as a passenger. As a passenger in a light aircraft, you will be sitting up front with the pilot, helping with the lookout. You will also be able to monitor the instruments and experience flying as you never have before.
WHAT DOES IT COST?
The Young Eagles program will cost upwards of $70.00.
$70 is the program entry fee which includes a Polo Shirt, Logbook Card, YE Badge, membership card and lanyard. Your local Aero Club may have additional costs to cover activities, flight training and cost-sharing of flights.
WHAT DO YOUNG EAGLES DO?
As a Young Eagle you are starting to experience the professionalism and passion of people in Aviation. Activities carried out by participating clubs may include activities and visits to:
Air force bases
Other Aero Clubs
Air Traffic Control facilities
Model aircraft flying
Other activities involve aircraft cleaning, safety in aviation, pre-flight inspections and general aviation knowledge just to name a few. Some clubs and the scholarships available will also involve some theory work. While it is a classroom it’s all about planes and flying so it’s fun stuff to learn. So while cleaning an aircraft may seem like work it is a great way to start showing you have the right attitude. Not only that but it is also a great way to learn about how aircraft are constructed.
HOW OLD DO I HAVE TO BE?
Young Eagles is recommended for young people aged between 14-18, however some Aero Clubs will take on younger people.
CAN I GET NCEA CREDITS?
Yes. Service IQ coordinate the cross crediting of aviation achievements into NCEA credits. More information is available at www.ServiceIQ.org.nzService IQ offers the Gateway program in High Schools. The Gateway program may enable you to do some flying lessons which your High School pays for.Gateway can contribute towards NCEA with up to 20 credits at level 2. A further 33 points at level 3 and 16 points at level 4 are available as students progress through the Private Pilot License program.
CAN I GET TIME OFF SCHOOL?
Sorry - No (but nice try!)
DOES IT COUNT TOWARDS A PILOT'S LICENCE?
Some Young Eagles activities will count towards a license, including any training flights where you fly the plane under the supervision of an instructor. Some won’t but all learning is good, especially in aviation. What you learn will help you with the more formal aviation qualifications.
WHAT DOES IT LEAD TO?
Some Young Eagles enjoy the program and then for one reason or another move on to other things. This is fine because it means they are making an informed decision about their life and aviation. Some come back later and learn to fly recreationally. Many Air Show pilots hold Private Pilots Licences so recreational flying can be done to a very high standard. Other Young Eagle graduates have continued on to a career in an aviation-related field, be that as a pilot, an engineer, an air traffic controller, or in any of the myriad of roles in aviation.
WHAT JOBS ARE AVAILABLE IN THE AVIATION SECTOR?
The list is endless, as a starting point:
Flight testing officers
Piston Engine mechanics
Jet Engine mechanics
Air Traffic Controllers
Structural and design engineers
Regulators - Civil Aviation Authority
There are also many other roles that support aviation companies
IS IT SAFE?
It is as safe as we can possibly make it. All Aero Clubs operate under strict safety rules.
The Young Eagle Flight Leaders are all qualified pilots who hold current medical certificates and have been Police Vetted in the preceding five years. These people have also been approved by the club's Chief Flying Instructor as being competent safe pilots before they are approved to take any Young Eagles flying. The flights are conducted carefully and well within the safety envelope for the pilots and the aircraft. All flights are weather dependent, so if the weather is not good enough for the flight to be conducted safely and comfortably it will be postponed to a better day.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS FOR MY CHILD?
Young Eagles provides a structure for young people to learn about aviation. That structure includes meeting other like-minded young people, along with adults and aviation professionals. Exposure to these people will help your child develop social skills as well as learn and experience the range of activities available in the aviation environment. There are NCEA credits available for achieving certain milestones. Some young people who may not have been enthusiastic academic scholars can find aviation subjects interesting, and this may form the basis for future learning. Navigation is geography and maths in disguise, Air Law is a study in English and Principles of Flight is really physics in drag. But as the student is interested in the topic these small facts are often overlooked.
WHAT IS THE TIME COMMITMENT?
Most Young Eagles programs run one event a month. This could be a visit to somewhere of interest, a flight of some kind, or some activity designed to be educational and of interest. Parental involvement is encouraged and welcomed. Some events may involve a flight to an away airfield. These may be done as a fly/drive event with the Young Eagles flying one way and being driven the other. This reduces the cost and gives more young people a chance to experience flight. Parents are encouraged to be involved.
I DONT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT FLYING - CAN I BE INVOLVED?
Absolutely! Parental involvement is encouraged and welcomed. There are plenty of useful things you can do to assist. This could include, driving the Young Eagles one way on a fly-drive trip. Helping with events such as BBQ’s or attending visits as one of the supervising adults. Talk to your local Aero Clubs Young Eagles Coordinator who will be able to provide local information.
You may even develop an interest in aviation yourself (and clubs are happy to take you for a trial flight also!)
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT US VIA THE YE ENQUIRY FORM BELOW