LAKE WYLIE — If they’re going to become Eagles, they may as well get used to the view.
Troop 365, which meets at All Saints Catholic Church, likely won’t forget the aviation merit badges they’re earning after a Feb. 9 trip to a Lincolnton, N.C., airfield. Recreational pilot Emmett Jenkins is a co-worker and friend of Scoutmaster Jason Floyd. Jenkins took the Scouts up two at a time to show them aviation from a bird’s-eye view.
“It was perfect weather,” said Tracy Snow, assistant Scoutmaster, “55 to 60 degrees, light breeze, absolutely cloudless day.”
Planes were taking off every five to 10 minutes as Scouts surveyed the aircraft parked near the taxi way. Jenkins explained what they’d be doing and how planes operate from an airfield gazebo, then walked the Scouts to his 1968 single-engine Piper Cherokee.
Scouts heard about safety protocol and pre-flight checks. They’d already submitted their weights, so Jenkins could distribute the load evenly. Lighter Scouts took the back, bigger ones up front. Pairs gave the thumbs up sign and headed down the runway as waiting Scouts flew paper airplanes.
Floyd thanked his friend for helping and also the merit badge counselors who participated. Floyd admitted he had as much fun as the boys did.
“He made it possible for the Scouts to do something many adults have never been able to do,” Floyd said. “Our boys were able to fly in a small aircraft.”
Being trained or even introduced to new activities through adults who are proficient in them is a benefit of the merit badge program that Floyd hopes his Scouts will appreciate.
“It is a great opportunity for them to learn about a job or recreation they can pursue into their adulthood,” he said. “It is always wonderful to have the ability to go and do rather than to sit and watch as many boys their age choose to do.”