Kids gain first-hand aviation experience with free plane rides at Martin Airport

Local News
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Kids in South Sioux got first-hand experience on what it’s like to be an airplane pilot. The annual Tommy Martin Memorial Drive-In or Fly-In was held this morning with breakfast and free flights for children. 
 
Kids interested in becoming airplane pilots, look no further. 
 
The Experimental Craft Association hosted a fly-in at Martin Airport with pilots from as far as Alabama to teach a thing or two about flying planes to children aging from eight to 17.  
 
“Introduction into aviation, you bet,” says Gene Martin, the president and owner of Martin Airfield.
 
The importance of the event is influenced by the pilot shortage worldwide, with the EAA hoping the free rides inspires a child to take up a career as a pilot. 
 
“We need pilots. If you look around, the airlines are running clear out of pilots … just general aviation is running out of pilots,” says Martin. 
 
And so far the EAA and has exposed thousands of kiddos to the aviation industry with each passing year 
“There’s been over 2,000 in the last couple of years nationwide.”
 
Strong winds made for shaky plane rides throughout the day. 
 
“The plane was shaking so much it was mostly [that], plus I’m afraid of heights,” says eight-year-old Dylan Hassler who also participated in the plane rides.
 
But overall kids say they enjoyed every minute of the experience.
 
“It was really fun. When I first got up it was kind of scary, but it was good,” says Olivia Irons, a nine-year-old who participated in the free plane ride
 
 

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