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Family of Friends kids take to the skies

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Local pilots from Young Eagles program give children unique flight experience.

CONTRIBUTED - Family of Friends participants had the chance to fly in airplanes alongside pilots from the Young Eagles Program.Gresham children associated with the Family of Friends mentorship program got the experience of a lifetime last month, as local pilots let them take the controls and fly planes across the skies.

The Experimental Aircraft Association Young Eagles Program Chapter 902 approached Family of Friends about the opportunity, and the local mentoring nonprofit jumped at the chance to provide participating children with a new experience.

Ten students, ranging from age 8 to 12, went with chaperones — a blend of parents and mentors — went to the Troutdale Airport on April 15. They learned about the mechanics behind aviation before flying around the area. All but one of them went up by themselves, and for many it was their first time in an airplane.

One of the children, Hunter, loved the experience even though he is afraid of heights and was nervous beforehand. Once the plane took off from the runway, he said all his anxiety vanished.

The Young Eagles Program was developed to help welcome kids to the world of aviation. Participation is open to children between 8 and 17 years old. For more information, contact Dan Forney at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Family of Friends is always looking for opportunities for the proteges they work with. Any local groups interested in setting up an event should call Michelle Kosta, executive director, at 503-618-2397 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Community members interested in becoming a mentor can call Program Manager Allison Yoder at 503-351-5805 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..