Richard I. Bong Airport Open house aims to inspire future pilots

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The next generation of potential pilots took to the skies at the 3rd annual Richard I. Bong Airport open-house in Superior, hosted by the Commemorative Air Force’s Lake Superior Squadron in partnership with the Experimental Aviation Association and other local organizations.

The event gives the public a chance to learn more about aviation history, get hands-on with the plans and even sit in the cockpit.

“We’ve been introducing kids since 1993 to airplanes,” said Tom Betts, Interim President of the Experimental Aviation Association. “Over 6000 kids, some of them have gone to Naval Academy and Air Force Academy and become flight instructors locally. One of them went to a weather aviation weather forecasting school from here. It’s been a real fun experience introducing kids to how airplanes are built and repairing them and showing them how to do that. And we’re learning too in some cases.”

Free Eagle Flights for kids were offered by multiple organizations present at this year’s airport open house. One potential future pilot shares his experience, and some advice for anyone else thinking about giving it a try.

“It just flew on a plane, it was very exciting,” said James Paulson, after flying for his second time. “And it’s not as scary as you think because once you get in the air, you realize that you’re in a confined space and there’s no possible way for you to get hurt in that space.”