‘Young Eagles’ chapter to participate in Aug. 12 event

The Chamber of Commerce and city of Pelican Rapids will host the Fly-In/Drive-In, August 12 with the Pelican Lions Club serving a pancake breakfast. More than a dozen planes have been on display in the past and the Lake Country Cruisers of Pelican Rapids also drive in classic cars for the event. New this year, the area “Young Eagles” chapter will be offering rides to area youth, and introducing them to aviation. Pictured here, Young Eagles plane rides which were hosted at the Fergus Falls airport last spring.


The revived “Fly-In, Drive-in” breakfast at the Pelican Rapids airport will have a new feature this year–aimed at young people who may be future pilots.

The Fergus Falls chapter of the “Young Eagles” will be on hand August 12, with pancake breakfast served by the Pelican Rapids Lions Club from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Airplane rides and information will be offered to young people attending the event, but online registration is urged for planning purposes, noted Dave Jennen, Erhard, a flyer for more than 30 years.

The rides are for youth ages 8 to 17, said Jennen.

“The idea is to introduce them to aviation and also to encourage them to get involved in aviation,” said Jennan, a retired Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Department lawman. “We don’t expect everybody to end up being a pilot, but there are many fields that are aviation related–from engineering to flight nurse to mechanical.”

The Young Eagles organization recognizes that there is an anticipated shortage of some 250,000 pilots nationally over the next decade, noted Jennen.

“Airline pilots are getting old…If we don’t get more pilots, planes will be flown by computers,” said Jennen. “We want to get more people involved in aviation.”

The Young Eagles flights will be offered by Fergus Falls Area EAA, Chapter 1174. The group holds a rally every year in Fergus Falls in conjunction with a Waffle Breakfast fund raiser and in Elbow Lake at its Airport Appreciation Day. The group is working with the following school districts: Fergus Falls (including Hillcrest Lutheran Academy), Rothsay, Wahpeton, Elbow Lake, Underwood, Battle Lake and is open to adding schools that might want to participate.

Jennen is the Young Eagles coordinator for the chapter but the program exists thanks to the volunteer pilots and ground crew that support the operations that are set up, he noted.

“Our goal is for the participants to have a safe, educational, and fun experience with general aviation that will hopefully open their eyes to opportunities that exist for them that they may never have thought of,” said Jennen.

The link for online registration for the Young Eagles Rally at the Pelican Rapids Airport on August 12: