June 13, 1998 - Te Kowhai
The Young Eagles programme was established in the USA by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) in the early 1990's with the aim of promoting aviation amongst the younger segment of the community. The objectives have been picked up around the world. A number of activities were organised around New Zealand to celebrate International Young Eagles day in 1998. Gisborne was the first to fly anywhere in the world on the day, while the Southland Aero club were the furthest south.
At Te Kowhai (near Hamilton), the Te Kowhai Microlight club aimed to set a record number of passengers. Initially the plan had been for 24 aircraft to fly young people from a number of organisations. On the day the weather was not cooperative, and with many pilots unable to leave their own bases, only 9 aircraft were on hand at Max Clear's airstrip. However, the event went ahead, and fortunately many of the would be passengers turned up brimming with enthusiasm, despite the poor weather. Through the persistant showers, the club managed an incredible 218 flights, only pausing twice when visibility dropped due to heavy showers.
The day was deemed a success, and the young eagles were able to take away a certificate, and memories of an aerial experience! The images below show some of the activity on the day.
© 2001 Phillip Treweek, all rights reserved