KentuckyOwensboro

Pilot Works to Build Aviation Playground at Airport

A Tri-State pilot is taking her lifelong love of Aviation and paying it forward to the future generation.

For Lauren Settles, soaring high in the sky is nothing new to her.

She’s an Owensboro native who grew up near the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport.

“I love flying. I love being at the airport. My brother and I would ride our bikes out here and just hangout,” says Lauren Settles, pilot. “Being born into aviation we flew everywhere. Every vacation we ever went on was in his plane.”

Settles father was a pilot himself teaching her the ins and outs of flying and igniting her passion for aviation.

“He would see kids at the fence over by his hanger all the time and allow them in there to see his planes and get in and out of them,” says Settles. “He was all about inspiring the future of aviation because he loved it so much.”

When he passed, she says she knew what she needed to do.

“It wasn’t until he passed away that maybe I wanted to become a pilot and thankfully I had that opportunity to use one of his planes.”

Almost a year ago, Settles says a photo her friend posted online got her thinking.

“I saw a photo of her daughter up against the fence behind me staring at the jet that flew in and the passengers loading and unloading and she was fascinated by it, so seeing that picture kind of stuck with me at the fact there was not really anything for the kids at the airport besides a fence for them to stand at,” says Settles.

From there Settles says she was inspired to build a playground at the airport that was aviation themed, elevated for children, and educational.

After speaking with Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport officials, the idea became a reality.

“See the actual runway,” says Settles. “See the planes land and get a really good view of the airport and also have a fun factor to it.”

The playground will be built near the airport fence.

For Settles, every time she flies off or lands on the runway, she hopes to inspire other kids just like her.

“I’m excited to see their faces when they see an airplane take off and land and they don’t have to just stand at a fence,” says Settles.

Settles says construction will begin once they have raised enough money towards the project.

Anyone interested in sponsoring the future play area is asked to contact the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport.

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