One of our instructors, Michael Flanagan, provided many of the local youth an amazing opportunity to fly in one of our Cessna 172s last month during Paine Field Aviation Day.
Although it would have been great for marketing, Regal Air never asked Michael to participate in this event. Likewise, Michael never asked to be reimbursed and barely mentioned it to anybody in our office. Needless to say, it was a bit of a shock when we learned that he was going to rent one of our aircraft for eight hours on his own dime to do this. For him, it was all about giving back.
When asked, he said that his first flight ever was when his dad took him to a Young Eagles event in the summer of 2006. It was the first time that he had been in a small plane. He sat in the right seat and was even given the controls for a couple of minutes. According to Michael, this is when he “absolutely fell in love” with flying. Despite being a young teen at the time and this happening over ten years ago, it left such and impact that Michael still remembers the pilot’s name, Deb Cahill.
Young Eagles is a program that was created by the Experimental Aircraft Association to provide free flights in general aviation aircraft for children between the ages of 8 and 17. They’ve been a part of Paine Field Aviation Day for several years, which is how Michael Flanagan participated.
Michael has wanted to provide these free flights for kids ever since he got his Private Pilot License in 2009. Although he loves to fly, he says that,
“it’s not just about flying. It’s about sharing your passion…Part of it renews your sense of amazement with flying because we fly everyday…all weekend I’m teaching people how to fly. But when you get to share that with people that have never experienced flying, you get to share in their amazement.”
Like many of our instructors, Michael works a separate full-time job and instructs part-time at Regal Air because it allows him to fly and teach on the weekends, add additional ratings, and still be heavily involved in the aviation community. If you’d also like to share your passion for aviation, you can also participate in Young Eagles or become an instructor. Who knows, maybe you’ll be some future great pilot’s Deb Cahill.