We take kids ages 8-17 for a free airplane flight. Our usual flight is from Sierra Sky Park following the San Joaquin River past Valley Children’s Hospital to Friant Dam and back via Madera Ranchos.
Our young Eagles rallies are held on the 2nd Saturday of the month 7 months per year. Those months are February, March, April, May, June, October & November.
Prior to the flight we have a “ground school” around 8:30am where among other things we make two significant points to the young minds. 1. We use the Bill Smilie story of creating Sierra Sky Park as the first residential airport in the world to encourage kids to dream of what they want to do in life and go for it! 2. We use the amazing experience of flight and the education required of pilots to motivate kids toward doing well in school.
You should arrive between 8:00am and 8:25am to get registered. Ground School starts about 8:30am. We usually start flying around 9:00am and are usually done by 11:00am. Sometimes the flights get cancelled or shortened if there is unfriendly weather.
We work with schools, churches, and a wide variety of youth organizations to coordinate group experiences for Young Eagles flights. Some months we have room for what we call "walk-ons" however other months we are at full capacity with group events. Walk-ons are typically families who come to a rally without any group involvement. We love to have walk-ons however we will give priority to groups who have made arrangements in advance. If you would like to make arrangements for a group event or want to find out if we expect to be able to take walk-ons on a particular date, please contact our Young Eagles Coordinator Bruce McJunkin at 559-824-5246 or BMcjunkin@pacbell.net.
Our chapter has participated in the Young Eagles program since its inception in 1992. For most of our Young Eagles it is the first flight they have ever had in a small airplane. As they grow many Young Eagles report their first flight in a small plane as being a significant experience in their lives and for some even a turning point.
Harrison Ford was the honorary chairman of Young Eagles 2004 through 2009 and has personally flown hundreds of kids. From 2009 through 2013 we had two co-chairmen of Young Eagles. They are world famous for having landed an Airbus A320 in the Hudson River. Sully Sullenberger and Jeff Skiles enthusiastically embraced the roll of leading this program. Beginning August 2013 Sean D. Tucker is our new chairman. Sean has many titles to his name. He's the U.S. National Advanced Aerobatic Champion, winner of numerous showmanship awards, a Living Legend of Aviation, and an honorary Thunderbird, Blue Angel, and Golden Knight - to name a few.
The program originally had the goal of flying 1 million youth by the 100 year anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight which was December 17, 2003. We surpassed that goal before the anniversary and in July of 2016 Harrison Ford flew the 2 millionth Young Eagle at our annual event in Oshkosh Wisconsin. More information about the national Young Eagles program can be found at www.YoungEagles.org.