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With shortage of pilots likely in the future, local airport hopes to get kids interested in flyingSubmitted: 09/19/2013
Story By Lauren Stephenson

ANTIGO - We fly to visit family, go on a vacation, or travel for business.

But what if there weren't enough pilots to fly us?

The EAA says that's a very real possibility because they project there will be a shortage of pilots.

That's why a local airport is trying to get kids interested in flying.

The Langlade County Airport partners with the EAA's Young Eagles program.

For one day every year, they give kids between the ages of 8 and 17 free airplane rides.

The Young Eagles program was founded in 1992.

Since then, they've flown more than 1.7 million kids from all over the country.

Leonard Boltz is a commercial airline pilot and a Young Eagles volunteer.

He says getting kids interested in aviation is important to the industry.

"We lost about a third of the private pilots between the years 1990 and 2010. And if that trend continues, there's not going to be enough pilots to fulfill the needs that we have as a nation," says commercial airline pilot Leonard Boltz.

Kids can fly free this Saturday.

It's part of the Langlade County Airport's 10th annual Fly In and Air Show on Saturday.

The air show includes a performance by three aerobatic performers and a crop dusting demonstration.

The airport manager believes this event is the perfect way to introduce people to their local airport.

"The main reason that we do it is just to promote the airport: to get people who don't normally utilize the airport to come out and enjoy it and have an opportunity for everybody to utilize their airport," says Langlade County Airport Manager Josh Walker.

The Air Show runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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That's because the Plum Lake Town Board voted against opening up parts of two roads: Kurtzweil Road and Birch Spring Road. Both are on the border of Sayner and St. Germain and are shared between the two towns.

A few months ago, St. Germain asked Plum Lake to open parts of those roads as part of an ATV route. At first, the Plum Lake Town Board approved them. That was before they found out a section of Kurtzweil Road was completely in Plum Lake.

"At that time the Plum Lake Town Board by a 2 to 1 vote approved letting them use that, assuming at the time the two roads were boundary roads equally shared by Sayner and St. Germain," said Will Maines, the Plum Lake Town Chairman.

So when St. Germain came back to the next town meeting with an ordinance for the roads ready to go, the Plum Lake town board then voted no.

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"We'd like to cooperate with the town of St. Germain, but we represent the people of Plum Lake, and they have given us the message loud and clear: they don't want us to allow them on any section of our roads," Maines said.

The St. Germain Town Chairman Tom Christensen said the decision is "disappointing," but, "it is what it is."

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