Concord event offers free flights for youths

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 5, 2011

CONCORD — Area youth ages 8-17 will have a chance to take to the skies in a free plane ride on Oct. 29–30, a Saturday and Sunday, as Experimental Aircraft Association Charlotte Chapter 309 hosts a Young Eagles Flight Rally at the Concord Regional Airport
It’s part of the inaugural Celebration of Flight open house and fly-in, presented by Toyota Scion of Concord.
The Young Eagles program was created to interest young people in aviation. Since the program was launched in 1992, volunteer Experimental Aircraft Association pilots have flown more than 1.6 million young people in more than 90 countries.
“Free airplane rides are just part of the flight rally,” Chuck Porter, president of Chapter 309. “We hope to build one-to-one relationships between pilots and young people, giving a new generation a chance to learn more about the possibilities that exist in the world of aviation.”
Pilots at the event will also explain more about their airplanes, allowing young people to discover how they work and how pilots ensure safety before every flight. Pilots volunteer their time and aircraft so the flights can be provided free of charge.
There will also be a static aircraft display with a pilot in the registration hangar so the children can comfortably touch and see an airplane.
Following the flight, each youth will receive a certificate making her or him an official Young Eagle. Their names will then be entered into the “World’s Largest Logbook,” which is on permanent display at the Experimental Aircraft Association Air Adventure Museum in Oshkosh, WI.
Those attending the flight rally are asked to come to the Concord Regional Airport and follow the signs to Young Eagles Registration Hangar 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. each day to register for their flight.
In addition to the Young Eagles flights, both days of the Celebration of Flight will also include aircraft flybys and static displays, NASCAR show cars and aircraft, kids’ activities, food and merchandise vendors. The event will kick off Oct. 29 with a 5K run on the runway and airport grounds beginning at 7:30 a.m. Registration for the race is $25 through Friday. Following the race, a fly-in breakfast will begin at 8:30 a.m. at a cost of $4.
The celebration will be held rain or shine. Some activities, including Young Eagles flights, are weather permitting. Parking for the event is $5, which includes discount coupons for area restaurants.
Continuing updates about the event, including notes about confirmed aircraft and special guests, are available at and
Concord Regional Airport is located along Derita Road at 9000 Aviation Boulevard, just off of Interstate 85 and accessible from Exit 49 (Concord Mills Boulevard) or Exit 52 (Poplar Tent Road).