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Harrison Ford takes flight with 2 millionth Young Eagle

Actor Harrison Ford prepares to fly with Jodie Gawthrop as part of the Young Eagles program at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, July 29, 2016. (WLUK image)

OSHKOSH, Wisc. (WLUK) - A major milestone took flight at EAA AirVenture Thursday. The two millionth "Young Eagle" took to the sky, and she did so with star power.

Harrison Ford himself piloted the plane. The actor has been a long-time supporter of EAA's Young Eagles Program.

Volunteers take kids ages 8 to 17 on general aviation flights.

Despite a gray and drizzly afternoon, a dazzling milestone was met Thursday.


"Two million Young Eagles!" exclaimed Ford.

Ford touched down at EAA AirVenture to take the two millionth Young Eagle on the flight of a lifetime, for both of them.

"This particular flight I'll remember for a long time," said Ford.

Sixteen-year-old Jodie Gawthrop was that Young Eagle. She said she won't soon forget the flight either.

"Really amazing to meet someone like Harrison or meet a whole community of people here at the air show that share that passion for aviation. You can tell he's really enthusiastic, really passionate, and it was just amazing to see the air show from that perspective," Gawthrop explained.

As a former Young Eagles Chairman, Ford certainly has passion for this program. Volunteers across 90 countries have kept it in flight since 1992.

"A huge group of dedicated pilots who come together, donate their time, the use of their airplanes, to introduce young people to aviation," explained Ford.

Ford told FOX 11 getting the next generation interested in aviation is more important now than ever. He told us America is lagging other countries in training pilots, particularly commercial airline pilots.

"Aviation's been very important to the history of this country and I'd like to see if continue to have the support that it, that it deserves," Ford said.

Gawthrop told FOX 11 she's definitely putting her support behind the aviation industry. She's aiming to get her private pilot's license soon and from there the sky is the limit.

"I'm hoping to get my solo done, get my license and eventually see where that takes me career-wise. I'm looking to serve my country in some capacity, hopefully through the military," said Gawthrop.

Ford was the chairman of the Young Eagles from 2004 to 2009. He's flown 300 times for the program.

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