Aircraft Association Offers Free Plane Rides

The local Experimental Aircraft Association is offering Eagle Flights to those 18 and older.

Have you ever wanted to see the Tampa Bay area from the sky?

You’ll have your chance Jan. 12 when the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Tampa Chapter 175 hosts its free Eagle Flights for adults 18 and older.

The event will take place at Tampa Executive Airport, 9334 Vandenberg Airport Rd. in Tampa, at 10 a.m.

Eagle Flights are coordinated across the country by local EAA chapter members. Tampa’s members are volunteering their time, aircraft and fuel to make the Jan. 12 event possible.

Ginger Adelstone, president of the Tampa chapter, said Cessnas will be used for the flights. She said she’s also hoping for a variety of unusual planes, such as Gyrocopters, Kites and Kitfox.

“I am still working on getting more pilots,” she said, explaining the more pilots who participate, the wider the variety of planes.

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EAA is a growing organization that was founded in 1953 in Milwaulkee by people interested in building their own airplanes, according to the EAA website. Today, members have a wide range of aviation interests and backgrounds.

Adelstone said members of the Tampa Bay chapter hail from all communities in the area, including the Bloomingdale-Riverview area.

The goal of EAA Eagle Flights is to show the community all that aviation has to offer through hands-on experience, said Adlestone, who began flying five years ago at the age of 49.

Pilots take participants through the steps of flying an airplane. During the flight, participants can follow along at the controls. And when the flight is over, pilots answer questions and talk about how participants can become pilots, too.

“It's a great opportunity for people who have always wanted to fly but never had the time as well as those who previously have flown and want to get back into flying," she said.


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