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Airborne Adventure

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

It may sound like something from the chronicles of Indiana Jones, but this weekend there’s an event for kids at the Camarillo Airport with the slogan “Young Eagle Flights . . . Your Free Ticket to Adventure!”

This Saturday, and on the first Saturday of every month thereafter, boys and girls ages 8-17 will have an opportunity to hitch a free airplane ride and scope out the county from above.

Bob Kelly is president of the Experimental Aircraft Assn., Chapter 723, a private and commercial pilots group, which provides these Young Eagle trips. The program, he says, gives kids an on-the-ground demonstration of how a pilot plans trips with flight maps and checks out an airplane’s mechanical condition prior to takeoff.

For the past four years the local pilots group has been providing these aerial excursions each month so kids find out firsthand that aviation, while a lot of work, can also be fun and can become a career.

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Youths who participate get a certificate signed by the pilot-host and a free year’s subscription to the Young Eagle’s magazine, Sports Aviation for Kids.

The Experimental Aircraft Assn., which has chapters all over the U.S., has set itself a goal: to giveairplane rides to 1 million kids by the year 2003--the centennial of the Wright Brothers’ first flight.

Here’s how it works: A parent or guardian must accompany the child to the Camarillo Airport by 10:30 a.m. and sign a parental permission form. Flights last about 20 minutes and kids are advised not to eat a greasy breakfast beforehand--to lessen the chance of getting airsick.

For older teenagers who want to take a really serious look at the business of flying, both civilian and military, there’s another program with regular activities at Camarillo Airport: Aviation Exploring. It’s a coeducational branch of the Boy Scouts.

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The airport is also the site of the Confederate Air Force Museum, open Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., which houses artifacts from World War II, including working aircraft. For information call (805) 482-0064.

BE THERE

“Young Eagle Flights” are free for kids 8-17 Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Call Neal Fowler at (805) 647-6994. For information on Aviation Exploring, a coed branch of the Boy Scouts, call Leilani Bueltmann at the Ventura County Council, Boy Scouts of America, (805) 482-8938.


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