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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS Feed Matt Younkin Is First Second-Generation Barber Award Winner
Matt Younkin
Matt Younkin will receive the 2012 Bill Barber Award for Showmanship at AirVenture on July 24. (Photo by Jim Froneberger)
Matt Younkin
Matt Younkin thrills the AirVenture 2011 crowd in his Beech 18. (Photo by DeKevin Thornton)

Matt Younkin has been named recipient of the 2012 Bill Barber Award for Showmanship by World Airshow News and will receive the award among his peers on Tuesday, July 24, during a special ceremony at AirVenture's Theater in the Woods. His father, Bobby, won the Barber award in 2004, making Matt the first second-generation recipient.

He's also a third-generation aviator, as grandfather, Jim, was an expert antique aircraft restorer and designed the Century and Trutrak autopilots. Matt even soloed in Grandpa's 1928 Travel Air 4000 biplane on his 16th birthday.

Matt had not originally planned to follow in his dad's footsteps into air show performing, but after Bobby was killed in an accident while performing in Canada in the summer of 2005, Matt decided to keep the family tradition alive. He made his air show debut in November 2005 in the family Decathlon that his dad made famous.

Matt achieved his goal of performing in his dad's famed Beech 18 at Sun 'n Fun on April 17, 2007. He reviewed footage of his dad's performances, reverse-engineering the proper speeds and altitudes to recreate Bobby's thrilling aerobatics. Matt later put his own stamp on performing with the Beech 18 by installing more than 50 externally visible lights for his "Magic by Moonlight" night act he debuted at Sun 'n Fun 2008. Today Matt and the Twin Beech are among the most sought-after acts on the air show circuit, performing at more than 20 venues a year.

Matt is scheduled to fly in the Monday and Wednesday afternoon air shows at AirVenture Oshkosh. EAA's daily air shows are sponsored by Rockwell Collins.

The Bill Barber Award for Showmanship began in 1986, and is awarded to air show 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 each year at Oshkosh.

View all Bill Barber Award for Showmanship recipients

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