Young Eagles Day Hailed a Success
With Young Eagles soaring the skies last weekend came a public relations bonanza for the Moore County Airport.
Seventeen pilots, both local and out of town, treated 275 young people to flights in their personal aircraft during the Dec. 3 Young Eagles Day. In addition, the event attracted an estimated 800 adults who came to watch the youngsters enjoy what for many was a first-time experience. All of the flights were free.
“The message that went home with all of those out of town pilots was what a great, friendly airport we have,” said Jim Murray, Young Eagles Day project coordinator.
Murray said the Moore County Airport Authority and the airport staff helped by providing 466 gallons of fuel. Estimated cost of that gift is $2,021.
“That is a bit of money, but where could you buy enough PR to personally influence some 800 people on the greatness of our airport?” Murray said.
Young Eagles Day is sponsored semiannually at the airport by the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association, an organization of pilots who enjoy sharing their passion for aviation.
The chapter set a goal of serving at least 200 young people. The 17 pilots, who volunteered their time and aircraft, included pilots from as far away as Charlotte and Apex as well as local men and women.
“I really enjoyed flying kids today at your rally,” said pilot Don Cleveland in a message to Murray after the event. “I really appreciate all your efforts to make this happen with such warm hospitality.
John H. Taws, a member of the Airport Authority, was likewise pleased.
“Thank you for creating a terrific day of adventure for so many — my son amongst those, who now have a wonderful tale to tell,” Taws told Murray.
Murray estimated that most passengers were making their first flights.
“I know personally that I flew more than 10 kids who had never been in an airplane of any kind,” Murray said. “I would hope that all of the folks that came out left with a positive feeling about ‘their’ airport.”
Murray expressed appreciation to several individuals and groups who helped to make the all-day fly-in a success, including Jim Wiltjer, of the ground staff, and John McDonald, of Pinecrest High School, who coordinated the work of Junior Air Force ROTC cadets. Fred Para, George Neil and John Thomas handled public relations and sold T-shirts. The Boy Scout troop helping out also reported good sales of their pizza lunches.
Murray saved his heartiest thanks for fellow pilots who made sure it was a safe day as well as fun. In addition to Murray, the pilots were: Ed Watters, Mike Jones, Daniel Kundig, Martin McLeod, Jeff Dukeman, James Dukeman, Mike Pobliega, Barry K. Buchele, Felice Schillaci, Dick Harpster, Chris McLeod, Tom McPherson, Larry Gebler, Jerome Johnson, Kent Dickens, Don Cleveland and W. Carter Keller.
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