The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) held its annual Festival of Flight at the Townsend Airport on July 4.
Kids had the chance to see more than a dozen aircraft up close as well as view Montana from a bird’s eye vantage.
“We have these Young Eagles flights that we offer,” said Al Hathy, EAA Helena Chapter President. “It’s an EAA program where the goal is to introduce young children ages 8 to 17 to aviation by offering them free flights in an aircraft here.”
For many of the kids, the event was their first time in an aircraft.
“That’s the idea,” explained Hathy, “let them see what the wonderful world of aviation is all about.”
Pilots fly in from all over for the event and volunteer their time, aircraft and fuel to take the kids up in the air. Many of the aircraft were either built by hand or refurbished by the pilots.
Organizers and volunteers MTN spoke with were in agreement that seeing the kids so excited about the planes is the best part of the day.
“I think it’s pretty cool because we get to go around the whole lake,” said Dannon Lytell, who was visiting from Colorado.
“You could also see all the little boats in the water,” said Logan Zwagerman of Bozeman. “It was really cool.”
Zwagerman’s sister Kylie had the opportunity to guide their plane for a little bit while in the air.
“I got to turn it back towards the airway, I got to turn it around and make it go faster or slower. It was so cool,” said Kylie Zwagerman.
Around 40 kids were given Young Eagle flights at the event on Thursday. Nationwide EAA chapters have provided free airplane rides for over two million kids in the past 25 years.
The next Young Eagles Rally will be at Three Forks Airport (9S5) on August 1 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
For more information, contact Lance Seaman at 406-442-8459.
-Reported by John Riley/MTN News