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East San Jose community takes flight and supports Reid-Hillview

SAN JOSE — Taking off with a roar from Reid-Hillview Airport in East San Jose, Paul Marshall’s Beechcraft Bonanza A36 plane cruised around the summit of Mission Peak east of Fremont on Saturday morning.

But the pilot who has been flying since 1998 has entrusted control of the six-seater single-engine plane to his co-pilot: Julian Aviles, 10.

“Planes aren’t quite like cars,” Marshall told Aviles, stretching out his arms to show how the plane moves before takeoff. “Keep watching the yoke – that’s how we go up and down, see that? Hey Julian, that’s gonna be your job.

Brothers Armando and Ernesto Tapia joined Julian, climbing onto the plane in their Nike sneakers and baseball cleats, which they put on at the Eastridge Little League field next to the airport.

More than 200 children took to the skies in Saturday’s Young Eagles Flight Rally, a monthly affair hosted by the local chapter of the Experimental Aircraft and Volunteer Pilots Association of Silicon Valley. The program has provided more than 2,500 free flights to children since its first year in 1992.

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 18: Jonathan Hernandez,10, of San Jose, Ernesto Tapia,11, of San Jose, Armando Tapia,11, of San Jose, and Jose Luis Rosales,10, of San Jose watch the planes take off during the Young Eagles Flight Rally at Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose, Calif. on Saturday, June 18, 2022. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 18: Jonathan Hernandez, 10, of San Jose, Ernesto Tapia, 11, of San Jose, Armando Tapia, 11, of San Jose and Jose Luis Rosales, 10, of San Jose watch planes take off during the Young Eagles Flight Rally at Reid-Hillview Airport in San Jose, Calif., on Saturday, June 18, 2022. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)

“I’ve flown 300 Young Eagles in my life,” Marshall said after landing in Reid-Hillview. “I think it’s one of the best programs in the world. Children rise in the air; they can fly for free. Julian was a natural pilot of the plane; he could be an airline pilot, you never know.

But beyond putting smiles on children’s faces after landing on solid ground, Saturday’s event was meant to draw attention to – and hopefully reverse – the planned closure of Reid-Hillview by Santa Clara County by 2031. The County Board of Supervisors voted in 2018 to stop accepting federal subsidy to help maintain operations at the airport.

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Post expires at 8:32pm on Friday July 1st, 2022