Young Eagles/Eagles and Letís do the numbers
Recent article in EAA news story. 20 years of YE
Sportyís on-line training hits 15,000
Last yearís data harvest has 20,000 former Young Eagles have become pilots (or is it FAA certified in some area - including pilots?)
Letís look at the numbers for return on investment
1.7 million YE Ė 20,000 pilots = 1.18% - after 20 years
1.7 million YE - 15,000 Continued education after 3 years of the program
Extrapolating that to 20 years it comes to 5.8% ( check my math please I assumed linear growth- which we know did not happen) Actually finding out the number of YE flights in the last 3 years is a better measure of n.
Fast forward to the Eagles program. These are fast growing seeds with an ROI in less than 5 years. I am going to make a projection Ė 23% in the first 10 years pass their check ride. *
IMHO this is the segment we (national and chapter) should have been chasing all along - they will bring YEs with them as the family gets involved. Eagles have the money to support the engagement unlike YE. Again IMHO the programs needed to be rolled out together and operated together. But itís easy to sell ďitís for the children Ė our futureĒ and harder to say we are going to give adults their first small plane ride Ė not the same emotional connect.
Lets face it, youth are trying on all kinds of things that commonly do not turn into a major life direction - itís their job to try on things. So, YE flight is a great experience for them and a great experience for the chapters/pilots but filling the chapter ranks or pilot populations itís not a good ROI. But it does feel good.
*If bolstering the pilot population is the goal, a better ROI is to understand and help get the drop out student pilots over their hurtles. Here are people who have invested time and considerable money to start the flight experience. They are WAY beyond the intro flight stage. Whatís keeping them from certification? That is a discussion for another thread.
My concern for the Eagle programs is the slide of active chapter members toward inactivity. Many have lost their medicals or aircraft. Chapters are having a hard time replacing them.
My Chapter used to have a very active program but now with few pilots willing to participate it has faltered. There are some collaborative chapter efforts but not as many as there could be.
Something I would like to see: a graph of the number of YE flights per year over the 20 years. I am going to guess it is on a down slide. Starting 2005?