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Young Eagles pilots give Oklahoma children gift of flight

David Ames, of Oklahoma City, has given more than 700 children their first flight in an airplane. A volunteer pilot for the Young Eagles program, Ames, 67, lets a first-time flier take over the controls of his Piper Cherokee Archer airplane — briefly.
by Robert Medley Published: April 8, 2013

Some who take their first flights as Young Eagles will be eligible for future scholarships and other assistance on their path to make flying a career, he said.

“We get more young people involved in aviation,” Cohenour said. “It's really rewarding.”

Cohenour has given more than 300 young people flights through the program.

Pilots throughout the country have gotten their start in Young Eagles since the 1990s, he said.

After an initial flight, youths may enroll in a ground school and learn to read instruments. Flying can be a motivational tool for working harder in school, he said.

Young Eagles “gives me a reason to fly,” Ames said.

“When I learned to fly, I realized you get a whole different perspective of the earth and your surroundings from the air,” he said. “When you fly, it is such a great feeling. I decided I wanted to give back some of that.”

by Robert Medley
Breaking News Reporter
Robert Medley has been a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1989, covering various news beats in the Oklahoma City metro area and in the Norman news bureau. He has been part of the breaking news team since 2008. A 1987 University of Oklahoma...
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For more information about the Young Eagles program, go to, or, in the Oklahoma City area, call Pat Cohenour at 495-1612 or David Ames at 615-0003.

On a typical flight, you'll have a kid who is real nervous in the airplane and apprehensive about it. By the time we land, they want to go up again. It's a total transformation.”

David Ames,
Volunteer pilot with the Young Eagles program


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