At First He Just Wanted To Fly…

Youth Aviation Adventure alum now looking to direct traffic in the skies

Like many 12-year-olds, Drew Fowler loved video games. Microsoft’s Flight Simulator was one of his favorites, but it didn’t spark any particular interest in learning how to fly. However, when he went to a Youth Aviation Adventure program at Don Scott Field in Columbus, Ohio, looking to earn his Boy Scout Aviation Merit Badge…his life changed.

“I immediately knew,” he recalls, “aviation is what I want to do. I want to learn how to fly.”

Drew earned his merit badge that day…and a Young Eagles flight with the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) added to his desire to fly. After that, playing Flight Simulator just wasn’t enough…Drew wanted more. So he called Youth Aviation Adventure Executive Director Dan Kiser and asked if he could volunteer at future Youth Aviation Adventure events. He would do anything… help with parking or cleaning up… if he could just be around planes and pilots. That was five years ago.Fowler remains an active volunteer with Youth Aviation Adventure. Three years ago he started working on his private pilot’s license and has nine-and-a-half hours of flight time logged.

Drew spent a week at the EAA Air Academy at AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin this past summer. The best part, he says, was the hour of stick time in a Cessna 162, but there was a lot of interesting time spent on the ground, as well. The Academy covers everything from aerodynamics & weather, to aircraft construction, restoration and maintenance skills.

The high school senior was convinced commercial piloting would be his career…until participating in a career mentoring program through his school. The program included time with air traffic controllers, and now he’s charting a new course, up to the control tower.

While keeping the skies safe will be his profession, the Westerville, Ohio teen says his passion will remain in the sky “I just love being in the air,” he says, adding, “When I am up in the air, I feel happy. I would stay up there forever, if I had the time and the money.”

The next stop on his career flight plan is college to pick up a degree in Aviation (he’s applied to Kent State University, the University of North Dakota and Beaver County Community College). Good luck, Drew and remember, to most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love aviation, the sky is home.

By Jim Schroeder

Youth Aviation Adventure is currently held in 21 cities across the country from Alaska to Florida and many places between. The list grows every year, so if you can’t find a program near you now, check back frequently!

Anchorage AK
Big Bear CA
Santa Monica CA
Denver CO
Jacksonville FL
Orlando FL
Atlanta GA
Muncie IN
Columbus OH
Cincinnati OH
Dayton OH
Toledo OH
Shawnee OK
Aurora OR
Albert Lea MN
Dickinson ND
Spokane WA
Eau Claire WI
Sheboygan Falls WI
Waukesha WI

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