With a slight chill in the air and some light morning rain, the Fly-In breakfast was a perfect way to enjoy a Saturday morning. A nice hot breakfast, socializing with friends and meeting a special guest.
The EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) Chapter 1240 held their ‘Fly-In Breakfast’ on Saturday Nov. 9 at the Sebring Airport.
“We’re hoping it will clear up so we can fly this morning. Maybe an hour or so; we’ll see,” said John Rousch with the EAA.
Retired NASA astronaut, Dr. Story Musgrave, was on hand to visit with the young aviators. He was also there to answer questions and check on the progress the young people had made on the plane kit that he provided them to build.
Musgrave is a retired physician and astronaut who served in the Marines. He was the only astronaut to fly in all five Space Shuttles. He participated in the design and development of the extra-vehicular activity equipment for the shuttles.
Prior to John Glenn, he was the oldest to orbit at 61. He has spent over 1,282 hours in space. His extensive experience makes him a very valuable mentor our local children.
“They’re working on my plane and I’m just checking in with the gang,” laughed Musgrave. “They’re building it from scratch, from a kit. They have to cut the sheet metal, fold it, drill holes, rivet it; they have to do pretty much everything.”
Luke Halpern, a member of the gang, a pilot and a freshman at Embry Riddle Aeronautical College, was excited to meet with Musgrave. His younger brother Jude was also there.
“We’re 2.5 years in on the project and have received a lot of help from Lockwood Aviation (at the Sebring Airport). This project and others here have helped me so much in school. We’re currently building a robot.”
“This is a very safe plane,” said Jade Halpern. “It’s got two engines so there is a back-up safety. You have to learn to read drawings and technical manuals. It’s hard at first and gets your mind spinning, but it gets better.”
“Everything seems impossible at first,” said Nicole Blount who is a trainee pilot. “It’s really cool. You learn so much about the aerospace program. I love it.”
A delicious breakfast offered a lot of choices including bacon, sausage (links or patties), pancakes (plain or blueberry), scrambled eggs (plain or with onions and peppers) and hash brown potatoes.
The event supports youth aviation education and the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) curriculum in our local schools.
“They learn art, design and engineering as well as mechanical techniques,” said Musgrave. “It makes it easier for them to get into the college of their choice. With internships, they’re ready to go!”
Another great opportunity for young people attending was the Young Eagle flights. Youth aged 8-17 could take a free orientation flight with an experienced EAA pilot. Each Young Eagle receives a certificate documenting their flight, a log book, their name entered into the world’s largest EAA logbook at EAA headquarters in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and access to FAA online ground training. They also become EAA youth member until age 19.
The EAA 1240 supports local youth with flight training and other activities where they develop lifestyle skills.