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Mon, Jun 25, 2012

Matt Younkin To Receive 2012 Bill Barber Award for Showmanship

Becomes First Second-Generation Barber Award Winner

Matt Younkin has been named as the 2012 recipient of the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship. The award will be presented during EAA AirVenture 2012 at EAA's Theater in the Woods on Tuesday, July 24th at 7pm. Matt joins a list of honorees that reads like an airshow hall of fame. He also becomes the first second-generation Barber Award winner.

His father, Bobby Younkin, won the award in 2004.

Matt is a third-generation pilot. His father Bobby was a world-renowned airshow pilot and grandfather Jim is known for designing the Century and Trutrak autopilots as well as being an antique aircraft restoration master. On his 16th birthday Matt soloed his grandfather's 1928 Travel Air 4000 biplane.

Growing up, Matt never had designs on being an airshow pilot and had plans for a corporate or airline career. But that all changed in the summer of 2005 when his dad was killed in an airshow accident in Canada. Matt knew he wanted to keep the family tradition alive and flew his first airshow in November of that year in the family Decathlon that his dad had made famous.
 
Matt's ultimate goal was to bring his dad's famed Beech 18 back to the airshow circuit, and that goal was realized on April 17, 2007 when he debuted the Beech 18 act at Lakeland. Matt had carefully reviewed old videotapes of his dad's Beech 18 performances and reverse-engineered the proper speeds and altitudes to recreate Bobby's thrilling aerobatics.

With the return of the Beech 18 show a big success, Matt wanted to create an act he could truly call his own. He outfitted the Beech 18 with over 50 externally visible lights, and his "Magic by Moonlight" night act was born at Lakeland in 2008. Today Matt and the Twin Beech are one of the most in-demand acts on the airshow circuit, performing at over twenty venues each year.

The Bill Barber Award for Showmanship began in 1986, and is awarded to airshow performers or teams that have demonstrated great skill and showmanship. World Airshow News magazine and the friends and family of the late Bill Barber present the award annually. 

FMI: www.airventure.org/awards/bill_barber.html

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