At long last, we performed our first aviation event of the year on June 12. We flew DJ to her 51st event under clear blue skies from Santa Barbara to Red Bluff, California to let youth paint the plane at an EAA's Young Eagles event. The EAA Young Eagles' mission is to introduce millions of kids ages 8-17 to the wonderful world of aviation.
After taking their first flights in general aviation airplanes like DJ, the young future pilots were invited to take the SafeLaunch One Choice Pledge. They sealed their commitment to making “one choice” by painting their name on the plane.
The Wind Beneath Our Wings Memorial is always an attention-getter. People often guess that the names under the wings represent people who have painted the plane, or who have flown with us. They are aptly moved when they learn that no, the names represent much more than that. They represent young people who have lost their lives to alcohol or other drugs, and their parents love them and miss them. The good news, we tell them, is that the majority of youth DO NOT use substances and that by keeping the pledge they just took, they have an excellent chance of having a great life. After all, a great life is like a great flight. Plan your destination. Train for it and most importantly… keep your brain healthy and sharp!
We may never know how many lives are saved by painting an airplane but we know that our message is being heard.