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Harriet Alexander Field Airport Manager Zechariah Papp flies with Keaston McNeill. Children ages 8-17 may fly with a pilot as part of International Young Eagles Day Saturday, June 9 (courtesy photo).

Youth ages 8-17 will gather at Salida’s Harriet Alexander Field at 6 a.m. Saturday, June 9, for free flights with a pilot; the event is part of International Young Eagles Day and is sponsored by the Experimental Aircraft Association.

Airport Manager Zechariah Papp said this is the second time the airport has participated in the event, the first being in 2016. “We had so many that day we couldn’t fly them all.”

Young Eagles Day is a nationwide event, but not all airports host flights for youth on the same day. “It’s just a great day to do it. The program doesn’t have anything to do with the airport; it’s more about pilots trying to share their passion of aviation with youth,” Papp explained.

Airport officials and board members support the event because they aim to promote the airport, as well as the aviation industry as a whole. “I hope that kids will get to experience, maybe for the first time, the art of flying and the feeling it gives you to be off the ground and in a different environment than most are used to,” Papp said.

Papp himself is also a private pilot and a certified Young Eagles pilot for the EAA. “I was hooked on aviation when I did my Young Eagles flight at 12 years old.”

Registration will be available on the day of the event. For more information, visit