The Eaglet Inspires the Next Generation of Aviators

more than 1,600 hours of ultralight flying time under his belt, Ronald Stokes,
EAA 250174, considers himself an aviation enthusiast. The first time Ronald
flew, he was 15 years old. He was immediately hooked.

“I took up rock climbing and mountain climbing just so I could get
higher up in the air,” Ronald said. “I dreamed about flying. I used to jump off
the roof of houses and stuff to get that nine seconds of flying time.”

Later in life, when the resources became
available to him, Ronald made the decision that ultralights were the way to go.

Ronald has built 10 ultralights to date. His
first was a Firefly and he said the most challenging was a Fisher Avenger.

the years, with several build projects, Ronald acquired a lot of spare parts.
For a while, they sat around until he decided that he wanted to build a model
after the Avenger.

Ronald thought about the project, his love of flying, and how he wished he’d
had the support and resources to fly earlier in life, an idea struck him.

realized that he could help kids get involved in aviation who otherwise might
not have had the opportunity. So, he finished the Eaglet, which is a
display-only airplane, and started making some phone calls.

one side it looks like an airplane and from the other side you can see why it
looks like that; how it was built, how things work,” Ronald said. “All the controls
and everything works like a normal airplane would.”

Eaglet has a wingspan of 129 inches, a height of 36 inches, and weighs 46.5
pounds. Ronald built the Eaglet so it could be transported easily and fit
through an average-sized door.

decided to leave one side of the plane exposed so he could teach kids how it

can get their hands on the joystick and move it around, they can touch the
controls and learn a little bit about aerodynamics.” he said.

found out that a local chapter in Prescott, Arizona, was promoting an aviation
summer camp through the Girl Scouts. He showed up at the camp with his Eaglet
for the first time and it was a huge success. He didn’t have to say anything — as
soon as the kids saw the Eaglet, the questions started pouring out, “Can I get
in?” “How does it work?”

now attends the Girl Scout summer camp every year with his Eaglet.

kids are delighted, they all want to get their hands on it,” he said. “It creates a lot of excitement when they see it. After seeing that,
they stay to ask some questions. A lot of them tell me they want to be pilots
when they grow up.”

Ronald said part of the reason he wanted to
build the Eaglet is because he recognizes that there is a call for help within
the industry.

“Less and less people are wanting to learn how
to fly and coming into the aviation industry,” Ronald said. “Just getting kids
all excited is the best thing really. It’s all about the kids. Just to be
around the young people who enjoy aviation like me, there’s nothing else like

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