Kids – fasten your seatbelts and get ready for takeoff. You can learn about airplanes, flight plans, navigation and even take a ride in an airplane as part of the Aviation Youth Rally on August 17.

The best news is the cost? It’s free.

The Youth Rally is a workshop open to 50 youth ages 9-12, and signup has already begun. The event, a workshop to introduce youth to the field of aviation, is 8:30 a.m. to noon Aug., 17 at the Perry Municipal Airport west of Perry.

The event is sponsored by the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 135 in conjunction with the Fly Iowa Event in Perry the following weekend, Aug. 23 and 24. Fly Iowa is a yearly event held in a different community each year by the Iowa Aviation Promotion group and the community.

"The first Youth Rally was held in 2006 in Ankeny," said Chuck McDonald, executive director of the Iowa Aviation group. "The event is all about exciting kids about aviation and perhaps be motivated to pursue science math, engineering technology."

McDonald said youth involved in the learning module, will be divided up into four groups and each group will rotate through three learning modules. One session is on airplanes, instruments and aerodynamics. The second module is on learning about the airport and airport traffic patterns. The third module examines weight and balance, flight planning and weather.

Finally, each participant who has permission from their parents will be able to take a flight with a flight instructor who will go over careers in aviation and space and provide a review of panel instruments.

Participants will receive a Young Eagle Flight certificate.

Also, participants will receive T-shirts and have a pizza luncheon at the end of the Rally.

Parents of interested youth need to contact McDonald at (515) 964-1398 or email him at to request an application. Pre-registration is required.