Zelienople experimental aircraft group gives youngsters free flight time
Brothers Eli and Tanner Gross soared hundreds of feet over Butler County Saturday, enjoying a nearly picture-perfect view of Moraine State Park and Lake Arthur from a small Cessna airplane.
“It was really awesome to see all the crazy stuff,” said Eli, 11, of Seven Fields, adding that he was only a bit nervous when his brother, 13, briefly took the controls from pilot Larry Schaefer.
Six volunteer pilots with the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 857, based out of the Zelienople Airport in Franklin, Beaver County, took to the skies for their Young Eagles program, which offers youths a chance for some free flight time. Though the event is held several times a year by the group, Saturday's flights were organized by high school seniors Kyle Gallagher and Tim Jesteadt, both association members and participants in the Young Eagles program.
“I thought this would be a good opportunity to show people what it's all about,” said Jesteadt, 18, of Marshall, a senior at Eden Christian Academy who is working toward his pilot's license.
“Maybe I can get other kids thinking about (flying) as a career,” said Gallagher, 17, of Cranberry, a senior at Seneca Valley High School, who hopes to have his pilot's license within the next couple of months. “I've always liked aviation since I was 5.”
Jesteadt and Gallagher spread the word through their schools about their projects, and 15 children and teens took the free flights. Club members gave them an orientation on the history of flying, and sat them in the cockpit of a plane in an airport hanger and showed them the controls that the pilots use to fly the craft.
Jesteadt took his girlfriend, Cianna Nuzzo, 18, a Seneca Valley senior, on a flight. When they landed, Jesteadt had his father, Ron, hold a sign along the runway asking Nuzzo to go to the prom with Tim Jesteadt. (She said yes, by the way.)
Eli and Tanner Gross are students at Eden, and their mother, Kelly Gross, 41, is a teacher there.
Gross said after the flight that her older son said he “didn't have words to describe” how much he liked it.
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Zelienople prepares for 175th anniversary
- Butler Township commissioners to consider new zoning regulations on gas well pads
- 2 votes separate GOP commissioner hopefuls
- Slippery Rock professor, students improve physical therapy in Vietnam
- Evans City pays tribute to its veterans
- Jackson housing plan goes under over flooding concerns