“We wanted to do something for the 100th anniversary [of the Wright brothers’ flight],” Dan Drost explained. That something? Give young people free flights in small planes to spread the joy of flying. The Young Eagles organization, formed in 1992, recently flew their 2,000,000th student. TGS students had the opportunity to fly with the organization Thursday, Oct. 5.
Mr. Drost spoke to the school at Open Forum the day before, so as soon as students arrived at school they were buzzing with excitement. The 8th, 10th, and 12th grades rushed to the Georgetown County airport, where they met Mr. Drost and our two volunteer pilots for the day, Mr. Alan and Mr. Charlie. Two groups of three could fly at a time, and the rest of the students eagerly awaited their turn.
“It was awesome!” Margaret exclaimed as she climbed out of the plane. Students in the front seat were allowed to fly the plane for a short time while students in the back seats nervously held onto their seat belts and looked at Winyah Bay almost 2,000 feet below. Communication was possible only over headsets, which crackled with static. “I was so scared when [Mr. Charlie] asked me if I wanted to fly the plane,” Isabella said, “but it was so much fun!”
After everyone had a chance to fly, Mr. Drost showed the school his personal plane, a 1952 Royal Air Force training biplane. He opened up the engine and the cockpit, happily explaining the mechanics of the plane. Just as we arrived back at the terminal, a helicopter touched down. The pilot volunteered to show us the helicopter, which was currently engaged in pipeline monitoring, as it refueled. Before heading back to school, we stopped by Morgan Park to eat lunch. Most students wound up eating at East Bay, as the trail to Morgan Park was almost impassable. We had a great field trip and a wonderful time flying with the Young Eagles program, and hope to fly with them again soon!