Leslie Gets To Fly

Whoohoo, it’s my second full day in Florida and I can finally use the words “warm” and “sunny” in the same sentence with Florida! Up till this afternoon everybody kept saying things like “It’s never this cold this time of the year here” and “You should have been here last week!”. So the sun’s shining and I’m happy again. Part of today I got to spend hanging out at FA40, Hidden Lake Airpark and I was tickled to see a half dozen or more excited pilots giving a couple of dozen even more excited Young Eagles airplane rides.

I pulled up and spotted a very large gathering of Boy Scouts & leaders, pilots & volunteers and ONE single young lady. She didn’t look intimidated in the least by all the boys, just determined to get an airplane ride – no matter how many boys she had to wade through to get it done. I was tickled to meet 14 year old Leslie Gibson who had her eye on a beautiful, home-built, red GP4 she was hoping to get a ride in.

Leslie and I decided it was meant to be when she learned the owner/pilot of the GP-4’s name was Leslie too; Leslie Conwell. You can tell from the picture it worked out for her! After the flight she told me, smiling the whole time, she got to take the controls and fly it. And talk about excited about aviation, Leslie’s hoping to attend the Air Force Academy when she graduates from high school in 2-1/2 years. Her goal is to have her pilot’s license by the time she graduates high school.

The Boy Scouts were working on their Aviation merit badges and my hat’s off to the pilots I saw today speaking to the kids about each of their airplanes. Very thorough, very informative, very impressive! I have to say to all those people who think that Young Eagles flights won’t help dramatically produce our next generation of pilots, better think again. Leslie, for one, will be at the top of the list and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to find that more than one of these young scouts didn’t get the flying bug today as well.

I hope Leslie achieves her goal and is able to attend the U. S. Air Force Academy. For information about admittance and assistance for Leslie and her parents, please send an email to me at Lady Taildraggers and I will forward.

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