By David and Laramie Resler, Young Eagles Coordinators, EAA Chapter 2 & VAA Chapter 37
EAA Chapter 2 (EAA 2) in Fort Wayne, Indiana, holds Young Eagles rallies at Smith Field Airport (KSMD) and other airports in northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio. On Saturday, August 27, 2022, EAA 2 member Craig Brown, EAA Lifetime 200766, flew Finn Freeman at an EAA Vintage 37 (VAA 37) rally held at DeKalb County Airport (KGWB) in Auburn, Indiana. Finn is the 11,000th Young Eagle flown by EAA 2 members. Craig has flown 367 Young Eagles since 1999. EAA 2 has flown Young Eagles every year since 1992 and received a plaque at AirVenture 2022 for that accomplishment.
Finn’s first Young Eagles flight was on April 11, 2015. He volunteers at EAA 2 and VAA 37 Young Eagles rallies in various areas, including instructing the kids on how an airplane flies, escorting kids to and from the airplanes, and marshaling aircraft. We always make sure he gets to fly too. Finn has attended the first two Air Academy camps and will be attending the Advanced Camp in 2023. His plans for the future include taking the Sporty’s Learn to Fly course and getting his private pilot certificate as soon as he saves enough money to start flight training.
Finn has grown up with aviation connections. Both of his maternal grandparents are private pilots, both have flown Young Eagles, and his first flight was when he was 5 years old with his grandpa, David Resler, EAA 647968, who has flown more than 2,800 Young Eagles since 2005.
Craig Brown flew his first Young Eagle on April 10, 1999, in his Cessna 172 at Smith Field Airport. He also flies kids in his 1941 Piper Cub. It was in the Cub that Craig took Finn on his Young Eagles flight which was EAA 2’s 11,000th Young Eagles flight.
Each year, EAA 2 hosts four Young Eagles rallies at Smith Field and VAA 37 hosts three Young Eagles rallies at DeKalb County Airport. The two chapters work together at these rallies along with one held at Kendallville Municipal Airport (C62) in Kendallville, Indiana.
In order to help and encourage youths who volunteer at our events to pursue flight training, EAA 2 has set up a Youth Aviation Training Scholarship Fund. Donations for this fund come from the profits from our fly-in lunches and private donations. VAA 37 also has a scholarship fund for flight training which is funded by profits from our fly-in breakfasts.
David and Laramie (EAA 758751) Resler are Young Eagles coordinators for both chapters. They, with other members from both chapters, go to other airports in the northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio to host Young Eagles rallies. Many of our members fly Young Eagles at times other than at rallies. Both chapters have a dedicated group of pilots and ground volunteers who help at these rallies.