Young Eagles take flight

Finn, 12, found his wings at Triumph Airfield Saturday, June 1.

Riley Klein

Young Eagles take flight

NORTH CANAAN — Aviation enthusiasts achieved lift-off Saturday, June 1, at Triumph Airfield.

The Young Eagles initiative of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) made its first appearance in North Canaan. The program promotes careers in flight to the next generation through hands-on experiences.

First timers got a feel for flying with the assistance of certified pilots. With clear skies, seven airplanes departed the grass runway and brought 32 youth flyers up to altitude over the course of the morning.

Tre Roberti, 14, took flight with EAA Chapter 1097 President Tom Whelan.Riley Klein

The planes reached “about 3,000 feet,” said Chapter President Tom Whelan after touching down with aspiring aviator Tre Roberti, 14, of Kent.

Roberti said he had flown once before and is hoping to become a pilot when he grows up.

“He’s a natural on the stick too,” added Whelan.

Roberti said the quarry to the south of the airstrip stood out as a notable landmark while in flight.

Billy Segalla flew "Ol' Yeller" with Caiden Brewer of North Canaan.Riley Klein

Billy Segalla of Triumph Airfield took Caiden Brewer of North Canaan for his first ever flight.

“Had to take him over the school,” said Segalla, referring to North Canaan Elementary School, at which Brewer is a student. “He loved it.”

Segalla and Brewer flew “Ol’ Yeller,” a bright yellow Piper PA-11 Cub.

“It’s great. We get to bring the younger generation, get them away from the TV and all that to enjoy this,” said Segalla.

Youth aviation enthusiasts got a hands-on experience with the Young Eagles initiative.Riley Klein

A flight with the Young Eagles qualified the co-pilots to begin their Ground Course training with EAA, the first step to becoming air certified. Once the course is completed online, trainees can begin logging flight hours to attain their license.

Inside the hangar, EAA Chapter 1097 reps were handing out certificates to those who took flight. Future pilots got help registering for online ground courses through the EAA headquarters in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

P.J. Whelan of EAA Chapter 1097 said the turnout at Triumph was “one of the best” she had seen. She said the Young Eagles initiative is a great opportunity to introduce the next generation to the aviation industry.

Copies of “Aviore” comic books, an aviation superhero series created by Stan Lee specifically for the Young Eagles program, were available free of charge.

Air traffic was busy at Triumph June 1.Riley Klein

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