Douglas Flight to the Border
by Clifford VanVleet
The third annual Douglas Flight to the Border Pancake Breakfast and Young Eagles Flight Rally was held on Saturday, October 7. Sponsored by Douglas Rotary, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 776, Sierra Vista and Cochise College, Douglas exceeded all expectations with 187 youth enjoying introductory airplane rides. The Young Eagle flight program provides rides free of charge in certificated general aviation aircraft to youth ages 8 to 17 for the express purpose of introducing young people to sport and careers in aviation. Eight pilots provided rides from 7:30 AM until 12:30 PM. The flights followed a circular route around the city and lasted 15 minutes each giving passengers good views of the city. Rotary served a pancake breakfast through mid-morning.
Flying children in Douglas provides EAA pilots the opportunity to introduce youth to the thrill of flying. Douglas Municipal Airport was the first commercial aviation airport in Arizona with the first incoming flight to Douglas in 1911. The plane landed behind the old YMCA building at the west end of 10th street. In 1913, planes that were used in the Mexican Revolution came to Douglas. Five years later, after World War I, the barnstormers arrived. The city purchased the airport in 1928 and a dirt runway was built connecting Douglas and Agua Prieta. Airplane passengers could land in Douglas and taxi through the runway gate into Mexico. Aviation activity in Douglas today is very minimal, offering students limited incentive to use aviation as a career or hobby. Pilots and ground crews conducting the rally were continually heart warmed by the reaction of the children and their parents who are having their first experience with airplanes and flying.