Thousands of feet in the air, East Texas kids fall in love with aviation

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Some East Texans will go their whole life without ever seeing where they live from thousands of feet in the air. However, one aviation group was changing that Saturday for some 8 to 17-year-old kids at the Angelina County Airport.

"We got to see the football field, Crown Colony, and my school, Brook Hollow," said Young Eagle Britney Day.

Day has never seen East Texas from a plane.

"It's out of the ordinary that you get to go flying," Day said.

After touching down and receiving her certificate, Day said future Young Eagles should have no fear.

"It's not really that scary and it's really you have all the safe stuff and you're with a driver that actually knows what he's doing," Day said.

Her pilot, Kent Walker, said he tries to pass some of that knowledge down to her.

"We try to give them a lot of education into what we're doing and we try to make it an educational and also enjoyable experience for them," Walker said.

The pilots do it out of their own pockets because the kid's smiles make it all worth it.

"The best part about it is, they really don't understand what it's like to fly or be up in the air and we get on the ground, you know, they're so excited and they'll talk about it for weeks," said pilot Steve Reeves.

And every now and then, a kid like Amanda Reynolds, a Young Eagle, really takes an interest in aviation and wants to stick with it.

"I just love to fly and be up in the air and get to see everything from up there," Reynolds said.

She has been taking off the Angelina County Airport runway for five years.

"It feels like you're up there by yourself and just can control everything," Reynolds smiled.

"Oh man, it means the world to me," Reeves said.  "It's so nice to see a child that finds a passion that they like and they want to go after it and that you can help them be part of that."

A part of a world 5,000 feet in the air.

"Really and truly I'm sure that I have more fun than these kids do when we go flying," Reeves said.  "So...I feel like I'm being selfish on that part."

The Fajita Fly-In happens the second Saturday of every month at the Angelina County Airport. After watching Young Eagles fly, you can eat fajitas for a $5 donation.

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