EAA Changes Young Eagles Policy
On January 21, 2016, EAA announced changes to it’s Young Eagles Program, effectively requiring pilots who wish to conduct flights to go through online certification and to complete a background check. One of the biggest reasons for the success of this program, which has flown nearly 2 million youth, is owed to thousands of volunteers making the flight experiences positive and memorable.
EAA says that continuing this positive legacy means maintaining EAA’s high standards and to do what’s necessary to keep EAA in step with best practices.
The new Youth Protection Program, which was first introduced as a concept in newsletters during 2015 to Young Eagles chapter coordinators and pilots, as well as at AirVenture 2015, will involve many EAA volunteers who work with young people. It will include online best-practices training and a basic background check to create the safest environment possible for young people in our programs and to protect our volunteers.
Training is available to all EAA volunteers who work with youth and Young Eagles pilots, chapter coordinators, and field representatives, free of charge, at www.eaa.org/youthprotection. Compliance deadline has been set to May 1, 2016, at which point it is required to conduct any further Young Eagles events. EAA has published a Frequently Asked Questions sheet to help members inform themselves.
The company working with EAA in this process, AmericanChecked, Inc, is supposedly among the leaders in the industry. The company claims to have worked with colleges, school districts, and governmental agencies. Reactions within the community and on EAA’s Forums has been mixed. At the time of this writing Chris Nesin, head of EAA Chapter 1560 located in Jasper, Tennessee, has stopped the program and announced a cease on EAA Young Eagles flights for the time being within his chapter.
It is with great sadness that I must report that EAA 1560 has suspended our Young Eagles program for the foreseeable future. Due to increased requirements and burdens placed on EAA1560 by EAA corporate itself, we have been forced to to take this action. For many of us, this program is the only reason we are members. I personally spent hundreds of hours last year dedicated to Young Eagles. This breaks my heart that we will not be able to share aviation with our local youth anymore.
EAA is encouraging feedback from members and affected groups via email: email@example.com