Truckee Young Eagle pilot records milestone
Tim LoDolce, president of the Truckee chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association presents Tom Meadows with an award for giving more than 1,000 youngsters airplane rides as part
Truckee resident Tom Meadows is so excited about flying that he has spent hundreds of hours taking young people into the air to get them enthused about it, too. Not only has he flown local youths, but also when he and wife, Lynn, an active pilot herself, have flown their Cessna 172 to Ohio he has given free airplane rides to kids in South Dakota, Iowa, Washington, Florida and Ohio.
Meadows, a semi-retired flight instructor, regularly has the kids sit in the left seat as pilot, while he explains what’s happening as they actually fly the plane.
Why does he volunteer his time and airplane hours? It’s all part of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) Young Eagles program, started in 1993 to introduce youths eight through 17 to aviation. Since then almost two million Young Eagles have enjoyed a free flight from EAA’s network of over 46,000 volunteer pilots.
Meadows has recently achieved a significant milestone in the program, having flown over 1000 Young Eagles, placing him in the top one percent of all EAA pilots who have flown 100 or more kids.
“One of the best parts of being an EAA member is introducing young people to aviation, and the best part of that is taking them flying. The younger kids are amazed that the cars look like toys, and the older ones are excited to see their house from the air.” Meadows further said, “Several Young Eagles have gone on to become pilots themselves, and several of those have become Young Eagle pilots.”
Pilots are not compensated for their time or aircraft costs, but Meadows said, “Our rewards are seeing the delighted expressions on the faces of new Young Eagles as they get out of the plane after their very first airplane ride.”
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