For many of us in the aviation community and industry, we understand how difficult it can seem to “break in” to aviation.
Aviation can appear to be a secret group – if you don’t know anyone or don’t know them well, how do you muster up the courage to talk to someone? Perhaps you’ve made it to the airport, only to stand by the fence looking in at a beautiful airplane. You’re able to wrap your fingers around that fence, and see through, but you aren’t able to touch it.
Here at Build-a-Pilot, and in many aviation communities across the country, pilots and aviation enthusiasts remember looking through that fence, and want to reach out and open the gate to let newcomers in.
What if you aren’t ready to go up for that introductory flight, but you are interested in being up close to an airplane, and perhaps having a conversation with someone that isn’t trying to sell you something.
Many aviation organizations over the years have implemented ideas and events around introducing people of all ages to aviation. There are many opportunities out there, especially now, but the trick has always been in finding them. Now with the onset of nearly everything being accessible online, that research is a little easier.
Organizations that routinely embrace the public are organizations like the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). Although the EAA is a national organization, its strength comes from local chapters regionally and locally. Those chapters have events where they host free flights to kids and adults alike who are interested in aviation occasionally throughout the flying season. Not sure if you are close to a chapter? Visit https://eaa.org/en/eaa/learn-to-fly/introductory-flights-for-free to find a chapter and perhaps an event coming up to try it out!
You can attend one of these types of events and have many opportunities to not only talk to the volunteer pilots, but also get closer to a small general aviation airplane.
Happen to see someone near their airplane? Stop by and chat, pilots typically love talking aviation nearly as much as they enjoy flying.
We still here stories of individuals coming to aviation for the first time, after having spent most of their lives not having an idea of how to get involved and we are doing what we can to combat that.