Ever since I can remember, I have been fascinated by aircraft of all sorts. I would implore my parents to drive me to some airport, just to watch the planes. One weekend I was watching planes as usual, when a pilot from the airport came and told my father and I about the Young Eagles flights. I can remember that moment in my mind perfectly – the moment when I realized my dreams could come true. I took my first Young Eagles flight on October 4, 2008 in a Mooney, and the rest is history. Young Eagles has been a miracle for me and I have no idea where I would be without it.
June 13, 2009 was one of my favorite flights. I flew in the Steen “Skybolt”, an experimental biplane! Well in 6th grade, I don’t think I could have gotten any cooler. It was way different than flying in a low winged aircraft; and especially different because it wasn’t completely closed in! The highlight of my life was when I got to touch a cloud!!
Another Young Eagles highlight was when I got to fly in a brand new Vans RV-6A on September 19, 2009. It was one of the coolest planes I’ve ever flown in. My favorite part was the bubble like cockpit, with 360 views all around. I loved the way it flew, not too sensitive but not too hard to fly. The landing was extremely smooth, I remember years later! In 2010 I flew a total of three Young Eagles flights. One in a Mooney, and two in Cessna 172′s. I introduced my boyfriend and his brother into the Young Eagles program and they absolutely loved it! They now come to Young Eagles days whenever I do!
When I went to Oshkosh, I had the honor of taking two Young Eagles flights in one week! My heart was bursting with excitement! First I got to fly in a brand new Cessna Skycatcher (162). It was so modern and unique compared to all the other planes I flew in. The cockpit was extremely roomy and never had I seen such new instruments and technology in a plane! Perhaps the coolest element was the “stoke” – a combination of a joy stick and a yoke! Best of all I experienced my first “manuver”, a double G and a zero G! I enjoyed it so much that we did it a second time!
My dream came true when I got to fly in a Bell-47 helicopter! It looked like a remote control one at first! I had always wanted to go in a helicopter at Young Eagles days but never got the chance. Now I got to go in this dragonfly looking one with no doors! It was spectacular, and a totally different experience than a plane. It was even better than I had expected.
My newest Young Eagles flight was in a Boeing Stearman biplane. It was probably the most fun I’ve ever had on any Young Eagles flight! My great friend and mentor, Mr. Drake was able to get me on as soon as I got to the airport! I felt like a WWII pilot as I put the flight suit on, hat, and goggles. My whole family was laughing at me, because apparently I looked like a “homing pigeon.” The pilot, Bill, said “You better buckle that seatbelt good for when we go upside down.” Little did I know, he was serious! (Good thing I buckled it) After he let me do some flying, we went up very high. It was freezing and I was sitting on my hands! We did tons of hammerheads and wingovers! I lost count! It was the coolest thing I ever experienced in a plane – nevermind one with no top. And now I can see myself as an aerobatic pilot.
Young Eagles has paved the way for me in aviation. Young Eagles fufilled my dream of flight. It gave me the online Sporty’s course, which I’m currently working on. If it weren’t for Young Eagles sending me emails, I never would have gone to Women Soar where I got the scholarship Space Camp! I wouldn’t have been funded by EAA to go to Air Academy. It has caused a giant chain reaction that has pushed me to make new goals in aviation, and reach them successfully. But best of all, Young Eagles has connected me with countless amounts of pilots and mentors who have taught me more than I could have ever imagined. I’ve made so many connections to kids, pilots, and just other aviation enthusiasts. But no matter where I go, it wouldn’t have been possible without Young Eagles.
You can see when I fly by typing “Alyssa Celone” into the logbook search bar: here.