Kids fly free at county airport on Sept. 27

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

Kids ages 8-17 will have a chance to take to the skies for free at the Shelby County Airport on Sept. 27 during the airport’s Young Eagles Day.

Throughout the morning, pilots with the Shelby County chapter of the EAA will take kids on free flights lasting about 20 minutes. Flights will depart at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon.

The Shelby County Airport has held several previous Young Eagles flight days, and has seen between 50 and 80 participants in each class.

“I want to have 100 at this one. That is my goal,” Shelby County EAA member Johnny Ward said during an Aug. 26 interview, noting he was planning to notify local Boy Scout troops about the Young Eagles Day.

Flights are free on Young Eagles Day, but participants must fill out a registration form in advance and bring it to the airport on the day of the event. Registration forms are available at the Shelby County Airport terminal, which is open daily from 7 a.m.-7 p.m., and at the Shelby County Reporter office at 115 N. Main St. in Columbiana.

Participants are encouraged to schedule a time to fly in advance by calling Ward at 914-5984 or emailing him at johnnyward1@yahoo.com, or by calling Dawson Moore at 620-4778 or emailing him at DMoore4921@gmail.com.

Hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and drinks will be available throughout the event.

Ward said the EAA is sponsoring Young Eagles Day programs at airports across the nation in an attempt to eventually combat a shortage of commercial pilots entering the workforce.

“There is a shortage of commercial pilots. The Air Force, the Navy and the Marines have all cut back on their programs, and that was the number-one place commercial airliners got their pilots,” Ward said. “We want to get that pipeline going again. We want to show kids that there is a good future in aviation.”