MEMBERS/CHAPTERS IN ACTION
Young Eagles flight inspires aviation career
JIM ANDERSON SR., EAA 671254 ( 83 YOUNG EAGLES FLOWN)
It’s International Young Eagles Day on June 11, 2011. This month we celebrate some of the great experiences Young
Eagles and their pilots have had. To fly a Young Eagle or find an event in your area, visi t www.YoungEagles.org.
THIS SPRING, MY WIFE, Diana, and I were invited to the graduation
ceremonies at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s campus in
Prescott, Arizona, by 21-year-old Julie Falsken, one of my former
Julie’s story began in 2002 when her mom, Cindy, brought her
to Corona (California) Municipal Airport’s annual open house.
Diana and I had put together some signs to hang on our Beech
Debonair, and along with a table full of information about the
Young Eagles program, we were set to sign up as many kids as we
could. We signed up a total of 32 youngsters that day, including
13-year-old Julie, who seemed very excited.
On the day of her ride, Julie and her dad, Dennis, showed up
early. She had studied the EAA/Young Eagles material and had
learned all the important parts of the airplane. Shortly after we
were airborne, I had her follow me through on the controls for
a few minutes. She seemed to be one of those natural fliers who
followed directions and understood what we were doing.
Back on the ground she was beaming with pride, and I told her
dad that Julie had the makings of a great pilot. I had just as much
Julie and Jim
fun as she had, being able to share my love
of aviation with someone as enthusiastic as
Julie. When she got home that day she told
her mom and dad that she was going to be a
pilot and have a career in aviation.
A couple of years after her flight, my
wife and I moved and lost touch with
Julie. Her passion for flying continued to
grow—she attended ground school at 14
and earned her private pilot glider rating.
In high school she earned scholastic and
athletic scholarships to Embry-Riddle
Aeronautical University (ERAU).
During her four years at ERAU Julie
continued her flying, earning her private
certificate and multiengine and instrument
ratings. She graduated in May with honors
and a bachelor’s degree in aviation business
administration. In January, after finishing
a second bachelor’s degree in aeronautics,
she will move to Seattle, where she already
has a job with Boeing.
Am I proud of what Julie has
accomplished? You bet. Her dad says
that without that Young Eagles ride Julie
would never have discovered aviation and
that it was that single flight that charted
a course that Julie followed with zeal and
With the help of EAA, Julie and her
dad were able to locate and invite us to her
graduation. To watch her graduate with
honors makes that flight nine years ago one
of the most rewarding in my 13,000-plus
hours of flying. Sharing my love of flight
and seeing that passion blossom in Julie is
what Young Eagles is really all about.