From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 15 at Worcester Regional Airport, the Worcester Regional Flight Academy is throwing a Free Fly Day. You can soar high above the city for a short flight with an instructor.
According to WRFA Founding Director George Charles Allen, three planes will be available for public use for 10- to 15-minute flights. During that time, either a student pilot or pilot will be available to answer any questions about flight, planes, aeronautics or anything else on aviation.
The WRFA is a family-owned business founded in 2010 to bring a stronger presence of the arport and general knowledge of aviation to Worcester. In addition to training pilots, the WRFA is connected to local businesses, colleges and organizations to give back to the community, especially to bring awareness to Worcester's youth.
To educate the community more on the wonders of flight, Mr. Allen's girlfriend, Jennifer Roy, had the idea for the free fly event. According to Mr. Allen, the academy is expected to serve about 100 guests in three airplanes, a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, a Piper Warrior and a Piper Cherokee.
Within three days of announcing the program, reservations for two planes were already booked solid. If you are unable to snag a spot on Free Fly Day, the WRFA offers introductory flights for one hour of instruction (30 minutes on ground, 30 minutes in flight) and 30-minute scenic tours, each for $135.
The free flight will take guests on a loop around the airport off of the main runway, touching over the city. During the flight, the guest has the chance to take control of the plane for a minute or two and make small turns of the plane.
"This is a great opportunity to see the city from a unique and new perspective, to get above it all, the daily grind, even for a few minutes. It's a treat that will change your mind and perspective," Mr. Allen said.
The WRFA offers many affordable opportunities for Worcester's youth to become involved in aviation. Its annual summer Aerospace Discovery Weekend welcomes youth 12 to 17 for a three-day program including classroom instruction, guest speakers from the David Clark Co. and JetBlue, career exploration, tours and a discovery flight. Students learn the "basics of flight, weather, navigation and aerospace communication," among other topics, according to Mr. Allen.
Mr. Allen has been flying planes with his father since he was 3, and relishes the opportunity to help foster the love and passion he has had for aviation his whole life in young adults.
"We are creating awareness for these kids. A lot of youth come through the program, and whether or not they end up in aviation, they have at least been exposed to it," Mr. Allen said. "It's nice to give them a space to share common interests, because when I was young, I didn't have many people to talk aviation with."