FAIRMONT —Some “Young Eagles” took flight Saturday at the Fairmont Airport.

During the Fairmont Young Eagles Day, children took advantage of free airplane rides.

The event was meant to expose kids ages 8-17 to aviation and STEM-related careers, according to Richard Judy, Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 842 Young Eagles coordinator.

Aiden Vincent, 8, of Fairmont, didn’t know if he wanted to be a pilot when he grew up, but he enjoyed the flight.

“I liked it,” he said.

He wore a “Ready for Take-off” t-shirt.

His cousin, Ryleigh Towns, 8, thought it was “cool.”

She also wore an aviation-inspired t-shirt with the message “Soarin’ High.”

The event also educated the children about the parts of a plane. Michael Webb, an EAA member, taught Cierra Anderson, 13; Kaylee Lasure, 13; and Elischa Lasure, 16, about a plane’s rudder as part of the pre-trip flight experience.

Judy hoped the event sparked interest in children about aviation. He noted the children asked a lot of questions following their flights.

“We’re trying to do our part to teach people about aviation, and let them know that ‘hey, the airport isn’t TSA and a great big giant fence and great big airliners,’” he said.

Rather than “big airliners,” he said there were five little planes at the airport that the kids could ride in. He also said the event allowed the children to see that the pilots are just “normal people,” not “multi-millionaires” or “multi-billionaires.”

“The overarching goal not only here, but at every Young Eagle event, is…to go ahead and explore and exploit aviation to the masses, people that may have never been to the airport,” he said.

Judy said the flights went toward Eldora, up to Chatham Hill and back over Fairmont to the airport for about 15 to 17 minutes.

Pilots from around the area were flying the planes.

“All these guys come out out of the goodness of the hearts,” he said.

He said there were about five pilots and 15 ground crew.

Anthony Ours of Fairmont watched as his son, Chase, 10, took off for a plane ride.

“I think it’s awesome,” he said.

He said his son had some initial misgivings about taking a flight, but Chase “stepped up” and went through with it.

Anthony thought it was great that the kids could learn about aviation.

“Kids nowadays need to learn stuff like that, get them away from electronics for a little bit, let them get out and do something,” he said.

Eric Hrin can be reached at 304-367-2549, or ehrin@timeswv.com.

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