Kids fly free at county airport on Dec. 10

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Children between the ages of 8-17 will have a chance to take to the skies for free in mid-December during the Shelby County Airport’s Young Eagles Day.

During the day, several local pilots with the Shelby County Chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association will take kids on free flights lasting about 20 minutes. Flights will begin at 10 a.m., and will run continually through about 1 p.m., according to event organizer and EAA member Dawson Moore.

Because the Dec. 10 event falls during the Christmas season, Santa Claus will make a special appearance.

The Shelby County Airport has held several previous Young Eagles flight days, including one last April, and has seen between 50 and 80 participants in each class. During the event, local pilots will have a variety of small one- and two-engine planes on hand to fly the kids.

In the past, the Young Eagles events have drawn more than 100 kids.

Flights are free on Young Eagles Day, but participants must fill out a registration form in advance – indicating desired flight time – and bring it to the airport on the day of the event. Registration forms are available at the Shelby County Airport terminal, or by emailing ShelbyEAA825@gmail.com.

A parent or guardian must be present at the airport for their children to receive an airplane ride.

The national EAA regularly sponsors Young Eagles Day programs at airports across the country in an effort to eventually combat a growing shortage of commercial pilots entering the workforce in the future, according to local EAA members.