Young Marines get flight lesson

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Capt. Donnie Keith, experienced pilot and Bossier Sheriff’s deputy, explaining the basics of flight to the Young Marines.

Six Bossier Sheriff’s Young Marines learned about flying during two recent visits to the Shreveport Downtown Airport over the past two weekends.

“It was fantastic,” said Pvt. Victoria Landman. “The trees and towns looked so small from the air.”

Capt. Donnie Keith, a Bossier Sheriff’s deputy and experienced pilot, took the Young Marines first to the Civil Air Patrol office at the airport, where they learned about the basics of flight, including the procedures, science and technology.

During their second visit on Sept. 28, Keith took the Young Marines to his hangar and showed them his Cessna Skyhawk. They reviewed the principles of flight, saw how the control surfaces on the aircraft work and made a pre-flight check. Without the engine running, they sat at the controls and operated the control systems.

“Providing these boys and girls in our Young Marines program the opportunity to get this close to an aircraft, learn how it operates and then actually take flight pays big dividends as we invest in our young people,” said Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington, who sponsors the Bossier Sheriff’s Young Marines. “It opens their eyes to the importance of education and expands their minds and horizons to consider the things they can do with their lives as they grow up. In essence, the sky’s the limit.”

Lucien Marioneaux, another pilot who often works with the Bossier Sheriff’s Office, owns an aircraft large enough to seat six, a Beechcraft Bonanza.

Marioneaux flew the Young Marines to Arkansas and back.

Although some of the Young Marines have previously been passengers in a large commercial aircraft, this was the first time for all of them to experience flight this intimately.

“It was really cool,” said Lance Cpl. Joseph Mitchel. “The towns looked like toys. I’d do it again. It was a great experience.”