Like Grandfather, Like Grandson

Like Grandfather, Like Grandson

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the EAA Young Eagles program in 2017, we’re featuring 25 Young Eagles whose stories inspire and exemplify the impact of the program.

Sometimes love of aviation skips a generation, which is exactly how 18-year-old Tyler Barry, EAA 1238435, got the flying bug.

“Immediately when people find out I have my pilot’s license they ask is your father a pilot,” he said. “No, but where it comes from is my grandfather was actually a pilot he flew in World War II. He flew B-29s as a flight engineer on those and actually he set a record. They flew from Tokyo to Washington D.C. nonstop after WWII and it was 27-1/2 hours. And that was a record he set for about two weeks and then somebody else came along and broke it but it’s still pretty cool. So that’s kind of where I got my bug from. My grandfather passed away in 2001 and I was born in 98 so we didn’t have much of a relationship.”

Tyler’s love of aviation started early with some encouragement from his dad.

“I remember when I was like three or four playing around on a flight simulator,” he said.” My dad’s kind of the one that was like, ‘hey just play around with this on the computer.’”

Then, his father, Tom, heard about an opportunity that would allow Tyler to take a flight in a small plane for free.

“I’d never flown in a small airplane before I’ve always flown commercial flights,” Tyler said. “It was the difference between, you know, we all get on a commercial flight and it feels like you’re in a tube you’ve got the little window. Up there it really set in … the meaning of why people fly. Why do we get up there. The view. … I just felt all the different feelings of flight I’ve always loved that. Meeting Nate and seeing all the different things that he was involved with in aviation and obviously the EAA Young Eagles coordinator.”

Tyler’s Young Eagles pilot was Nate Abel who at the time was the Young Eagles coordinator for EAA Chapter 670. Sadly, Nate died of cancer just a few months later.

Tyler and his Young Eagles pilot Nate Abel

“With Nate’s passing we got even closer with many of the people [at Hinshaw Flying Club],” Tyler said. “We got involved with the flying club flew up to my solo and I soloed in January 2015 and then we kept going. … I got my license in July 2016.”

Today, Tyler is president of the Nate Abel Flying Club, which gives Young Eagles flights at an annual Fly Kids for Nate event. Although Tyler said he hasn’t started flying Young Eagles yet, he encourages young people to get involved and stay involved.

“When I see young people, when they get to the Young Eagles flight, they take it but they don’t follow up they don’t keep up,” he said. “One of the things that was really cool was the Sporty’s video access. That kind of kept me engaged and then of course the … voucher that you get if you go to one of the flight schools. Making sure that you utilize that and building those relationships, that’s what builds you to make sure you get your license. It’s always a lot easier to not do something when you don’t have a support system built around it.”

If you or someone you know has a Young Eagles story to share, e-mail us at You can also share your Young Eagles photos or video with us on Twitter and Instagram using #YoungEagles25.

Read all 25 for 25 stories here >>

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Katie, EAA 1186406, is an avid aviation lover and learner and assistant copy editor in EAA publications.