HERMISTON -Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 219 will host a youth rally Saturday, April 23, at the Hermiston airport from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"Our mission was to give 1 million free airplane rides to kids between the ages of 8 and 17 before the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers flight at Kitty Hawk," organizer Ron Linn said.

The group began this effort in the early 1990s and after reaching that target, they decided to keep holding the annual open house to promote aviation.

"We're a bunch of guys who liked airplanes and wanted to promote general aviation for the betterment of it (the activity) and to get young people interested in flying," he said.

The group initially formed in the 1960s and includes members from across Umatilla and Morrow counties.

"All of our craft (planes) are federally certified and we have a bunch of certified pilots who will talk about how airplanes fly and take kids up in the air," Linn said.

The open house includes a display of some vintage planes including a liaison Stinson model L-5 from World War II. Linn said this plane is what the military used before satellite tracking was invented.

"Basically, they sent a couple of kids up in a plane, they flew over the battlefields and came back to report what they had seen," he said.

The event will also offer hay rides on a trailer pulled by a tractor between the Hermiston airport and Bellinger Farms. Families can ride for free. But children who wish to go airborne must have their parent or guardian fill out a permission slip on site. The Hermiston police and fire departments along with the DARE program will also attend to show off their equipment.


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