Free Plane Rides For Kids At Air Show

Young people aged 8 to 17 will be able to take free airplane rides during the Saturday, Sept. 8, during the two-day Wings and Wheels Air Show running Sept. 8 and 9 at the Barnes County Municipal Airport.

Toby McPherson, EAA member and co-chair of the event, said Thursday the free rides for youths are being offered through the Experimental Aircraft Association Young Eagles Program, and will take place from 9 a.m. to noon. Along with the free rides for kids, McPherson said the Fargo EAA chapter is also sponsoring a breakfast at the air show from 8 a.m. to noon Sunday.

All profits from the breakfast will either go to the air show or the Fargo Air Museum, McPherson said.

Air show co-chairwoman Lori Jury said this is the first time free rides will be given to children in Barnes County as part of the EAA program, “but they recently did it in Kindred (N.D.)”

The Young Eagles Program was started in 1992 to “give interested young people an opportunity to go flying in a general aviation airplane.”
Said McPherson, “We do it (free rides for kids) quite often at fly-ins and air shows. Members provide rides in their personal planes, and the EAA chapter pays for the fuel. Usually airplanes are four seats with the pilot, so there’s room for three kids. What we hope for is to give kids a ride, get them interested in aviation or just get a thrill from flying.”

The flights will flown by volunteer EAA members, and most of the flights will last between 15 and 20 minutes.

The EAA wants pre-registrations from young people interested in flights so members will know how many airplanes will be needed. “We can usually get as many airplanes as we need,” McPherson said.

North Dakota chapters of the EAA are located in Fargo and Mandan. The Fargo chapter has about a dozen active members, or between 50 and 60 total members, McPherson said.

Pilots will share information on the airplane with the young people; reviewing an aeronautical chart and identifying reference points to look for during the flight; completing a careful walk around preflight inspection of the airplane and identifying the parts that control the airplane; helping children buckle seat belts and describing the interior of the airplane, including the instrument panel.

In order to participate, interested young people will have to pre-register. Registration forms are available at or the Rosebud Visitors Center.

McPherson said he proposed the Fargo chapter get involved in the Barnes County Show.

Main features of the breakfast will be pancakes, sausages, scrambled eggs, coffee and juice.

Completed forms should be returned to Young Eagles, P.O. Box 2, Valley City, N.D. 58072. The registration deadline is Friday, Aug. 31. Those wanting more information can contact Lori Jury at 490-1034 or McPherson at 799-8629.