"Young eagles" take wing

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:53

GREENWOOD LAKE AIRPORT — Last Saturday was a gorgeous day by any measure, but for 60 area youngsters it would prove unforgettable. The kids gained a whole new perspective on the earth and the sky by taking their first-ever airplane flights, thanks to the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Young Eagles program. Several EAA member pilots volunteered their time to share their passion and give the free flights, open to children ages 8-17, at Greenwood Lake Airport. The flights took the young passengers over West Milford, Greenwood Lake, and the surrounding area in a 20-minute session. Since 1992, more than 1.1 million kids in over 90 countries have been introduced to aviation through the Young Eagles program. Pilots explain what will happen during the flight, talking about the airplane, reviewing aeronautical charts, identifying reference points during the flight, and demonstrating the parts that control the airplane. After completing their maiden voyages, the youngsters have their names entered into a logbook at the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. They also receive an official certificate signed by the EAA Young Eagles chairman -- a pilot and sometime actor by the name of Harrison Ford. Dan Aneiros, who coordinated the event, said that the expensive fuel for the flights was donated by the pilots, and that the fuel's cost was discounted in turn thanks to Greenwood Lake Airport manager Tim Wagner. "Anything for the kids," said Aneiros of the effort. Adding to the day's impromptu theme of discovery, West Milford Fire Department Company 6 brought their gleaming yellow engine to the airport to show the kids just what a fire truck is like up close. Area kids will have another opportunity to experience the excitement of flight on "Young Eagles Day," Saturday, October 8, part of West Milford's 11th annual Autumn Lights Festival.