Below is the Tony Yacono, Young Eagle nomination written and produced by Bobbi Lasher.
Great job Bobbi and Tony.
I would like to nominate Tony Yacono for the 2008 Young Eagles Horizon Award. Tony has been the Young Eagles coordinator for Chapter 724, Merritt Island, FL, since 1992 when the program began.
Each year Chapter 724 stages two Young Eagles Rallies, one each in the Spring and the Fall. To date our chapter has flown 3734 Young Eagles. Of those young people we know that one is currently flying off an aircraft carrier for the Navy, one is a pilot with a local charter company,
Young Eagle Charlie Young Eagle Justin
one has recently earned his private license; one is a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol and hopes to
Young Eagle Jason Young Eagle Hunter
attend the Air Force Academy after High School graduation, and another is currently taking flying lessons. There are probably more, that we haven’t heard about.
Tony has flown 525 Young Eagles in his Mooney, N7437V.
Tony and Young Eagles 500, 498, and 499
At each Rally, anywhere from 10 – 18 planes participate, as well as a ground crew that directs traffic, a coordinator who matches the pilots and Young Eagles, and a crew that handles registration and certificate printing. The entire group functions as a well oiled machine. The enclosed video will give you an overview of how our system works. All of this organization is due to Tony’s hard work and dedication to the Young Eagles program. This enables the Chapter to fly as many as 348 Young Eagles in a day.
Tony briefing his Young Eagles Crew
Before any pilot can fly, he/she must attend a Safety briefing given by Tony. During the briefing, pilots are given a diagram of the flight pattern for the day, instructions for operations on the ground, procedures to be followed, a weather briefing and a report on the current flying conditions. Tony arrives early and flies the Young Eagles route before registration begins, to see what the weather conditions are like. Tony is VERY safety conscious and as a collateral duty is the Chairman of the Safety Committee on Merritt Island Airport. The crew for the day also includes a Safety Officer whose main mission is to keep an eye on the air traffic and watch for anything that could be dangerous. Merritt Island Airport is an uncontrolled field so we do not have “big brother” watching over us.
For several weeks prior to each Rally, Tony meets with the local newspaper to get lots of publicity for the Rally.
He takes many phone calls from parents and grandparents who want more information before they make the trip to the airport. He also talks to local businesses asking them for donations to the program. In the past he has arranged for the volunteers to receive a Young Eagles polo shirt. Some years the pilots each are given a case of oil for their plane. Every year Tony manages to get the fuel supplier, Shell Oil, to reduce their price for avgas burned while flying Young Eagles. He has also gotten monetary donations which are used to defray the cost of fuel for the day.
Besides our regular Rallies, the chapter also arranges mini rallies for special groups like the US Marine Corps Cadets, Boy Scouts, Civil Air Patrol Cadets and Home School groups. Also Tony will fly any young person that he meets who shows an interest in aviation.
EAA 724 has also taken the “show on the road”. Under Tony’s direction EAA 724 members have staged a Young Eagles Rally at the Valliant Air Command Museum at the Titusville, FL airport and have helped Chapter 1288 with their Young Eagles Program at the Valkaria Airport.
EAA 724 was chartered in October 1981. Although Tony is not a charter member of the chapter, he joined shortly thereafter and has been an active member ever since.
Tony Yacono is dedicated to the Young Eagles Program. He is always looking for ways to encourage young people to become interested in aviation. He can tell you about his first flight when he was 12 years old, a Young Eagle long before the program existed. I can think of no one that has given more to or done more for the Young Eagles Program than Tony has. There is no one who is more deserving of this award.