A Free Fly-Out Lunch

By Ted Luebbers, EAA 879584

EAA Chapter 534 Aviation Youth Program members and some of their parents flew away on private GA aircraft for lunch at the Pyper Kub Café at the Williston Municipal Airport (KX60) in Williston, Florida, on September 1, 2018.

They gathered Saturday morning at the chapter hangar at the Leesburg International Airport (KLEE) in Leesburg to get their final instructions about the flight. Chapter pilots were also briefed by Joel Hargis, EAA 1074421, Young Eagles coordinator, and John Weber, EAA 278572, chapter vice president and director of the chapter’s Aviation Youth Program.

John Weber, EAA Chapter 534 Aviation Youth Program director, makes sure program participant Mateo Colmenero, EAA 1200734, is tightly strapped in for the flight. Since John is a light-sport flight instructor he is used to having his students in the left seat as “pilot in command.”

The chapter wanted to add something extra to the program as a reward for all the hard work the kids have put forth this summer learning how to repair real airplanes. They were not charged for the lunch or the flight. Who says there is no such thing as a free lunch!

The participants have been working diligently on a light-sport Mini-Max aircraft that was damaged at another airport during a tornado. The owner decided to donate the bruised airplane to the chapter for use with their Aviation Youth Program. When this airplane is restored to flight status, the chapter has several other aircraft kits that have been donated for the young people to work on.

The gang from the EAA Chapter 534 Aviation Youth Program enjoy their fly-out lunch at the Pyper Kub Café at the Williston Municipal Airport.

The work the kids do on the airplanes is overseen by chapter members who have built aircraft themselves. Some of the volunteer members are also aircraft mechanics and/or private pilots, and one is a CFI.

On an ordinary Saturday these young folks would be working in the hangar on the Mini-Max or using the new flight simulator that is set up for their use. Flights of this type from time to time stimulate their enthusiasm to continue to learn all they can about aviation.

Since our country is now suffering from a pilot shortage, and will continue to in the near future, it is hoped that this aviation exposure will stimulate their interest to seek out aviation careers and/or private pilot certificates when they are older.

For Saturday’s lunch flight there were 11 Aviation Youth members, and six family members and EAA volunteers. The chapter provided nine fixed wing aircraft and volunteer pilots. Takeoff time was at 10:30 a.m. and all had returned safely to Leesburg International Airport by 2 p.m. after a hearty lunch.

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