EAA Chapter 534 Pilot, Rosie Rivera ( Right), takes her first two Young Eagles for their introductory flight. They are Amalie Weaver and Gabriel Carrasquillo. It wasn’t too many years ago that Rosie had taken her first YE flight.

Article and Photos By Ted Luebbers

Five years ago, Rosie Rivera had her first flight in a general aviation plane. On September 16, 2023 she was in the pilot’s seat when Chapter 534 of the Experimental Aircraft Association held a Young Eagles Rally at Leesburg International Airport.

It was a warm sunny Florida morning in Leesburg, FL when eight eager and excited kids entered the EAA Chapter Hangar along with their parents and friends to take part in the September Young Eagles Rally.


These Young Eagles events are sponsored by local EAA Chapters throughout the world to introduce young people ages 8 to 17 to the joy of flying in small single-engine aircraft.

Six EAA Chapter 534 pilots volunteered their time and planes to fly Young Eagles at the Leesburg International Airport. ( L to R 1st row ) Rosie Rivera, Joel Hargis, and Jim Rogers ( L to R 2nd row ) Bo Wroten, Mark Peebles, and Steve Tilford.

These introductory flights are free. The chapters provide volunteer member pilots, their private planes, and ground volunteers to ensure that everybody has a great experience.

The motivation behind the rallies for these young people, and their parents, is to learn more about General Aviation.  This will inspire the kids to become licensed pilots or kindle an interest in aerospace. For many of these young people, it is the first time they have ever been up in a plane of any type. 

As time goes on, and they become older, the hope is they will select careers as pilots or some other related aerospace vocation.

Currently, there is an acute shortage of pilots and aviation mechanics and over the next 10 to 20 years there will be many employment opportunities in the aviation industry.

During these flights which take around 15 to 30 minutes some of those young people may actually get a chance to fly the airplane for a short time under the watchful eye and guidance of their EAA pilot.

Upon completion of their flights, they will receive a commemorative certificate and an official logbook signed by their pilot.

They also receive several other free perks, such as an online Sporty’s Pilot Shop Learn to Fly Course. When they complete this course, they will be eligible for a free flying lesson at a flight school of their choice.

 They receive free admission to more than 300 science and technology museums and free student membership to the Academy of Model Aeronautics.

Young Eagle Daniel Swartz is getting a ride in Mark Peebles’ vintage Fairchild aircraft.

If their interest is peaked enough, they may want to join the EAA Chapter 534 aviation youth program called Squadron 534. Here they would learn more about aviation, such as how to use tools for building and repairing aircraft as well as aerodynamics.

 Through this program, they could compete for a Ray Aviation Scholarship which would provide a grant of $ 11,000 to pay for the cost of flight instruction at a flight school of their choice.

On this day EAA Chapter 534 provided six chapter pilots and their private aircraft and 10 ground crew to do the paperwork and escort kids and parents safely to and from the ramp.

This was a very special day for Rosie Rivera, a 2021 Ray Aviation Scholarship winner and now as a licensed private pilot, she was to fly two Young Eagles.

 While pursuing a nursing degree in college she has earned a Seaplane rating, an instrument rating, and is currently working on her Commercial rating. Her aviation goals are to become a Certified Flight Instructor and Missionary Pilot.

Rosie was applauded by the other EAA Chapter 534 Pilots and welcomed to their ranks.

If you would like to learn more about EAA Chapter 534 or National EAA you may go to the following websites. < www.eaachapter534.org > or < www.eaa.org >


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