Phillips 66 marks 25 years of inspiring kids to fly

​By Allison Stowe
Phillips 66 Corporate Communications

Nearly 2.2 million youths have been introduced to the world of aviation over the last 25 years on flights made possible with the help of Phillips 66 Aviation.

Since 1994, Phillips 66 Aviation has sponsored the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Young Eagles, a program that gives young people ages eight through 17 their first ride in a small general aviation aircraft. It also gives a $1 rebate per gallon to the volunteer pilots who refuel with Phillips 66 after flying Young Eagles. 

"Young Eagles is a special effort to bring the wonders of aviation to a new generation of enthusiasts," said Manager of General Aviation Lindsey Grant. "It’s our honor to support the volunteer pilots who take the kids up, using their own aircraft and spending their own time and money."

Seth Garland, 20, said he took his first flight at Harold Field near Jackson, Mississippi, when he was 10 years old from a local EAA chapter volunteer pilot. From that very first flight, Garland said he "got the bug" and knew he’d ultimately pursue a career in aviation.

"I was really hooked," he said. "This is what I want to do."

Once Garland graduated from the Young Eagles program, he decided to give back to the program that inspired his love of aviation and served as a volunteer pilot.

"It really does carry these kids on," he said. "Once they see it, they get this gleam in their eye and they come out of the plane all smiling and happy. It’s just one of the best things you’ll see."

The Young Eagles attended this year’s 50th EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, held July 22-28. The annual gathering of aviation enthusiasts is one of the world’s largest, and this year it featured World War II C-47 aircraft That’s All, Brother and Miss Montana. The planes, both of which received support from Phillips 66, were back in the U.S. after making the journey across the Atlantic in June to participate in the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

The iconic That’s All, Brother led the airborne assault on D-Day.