Matt Younkin will be making his Battle Creek debut this year in the beautiful Beechraft 18 warbird. You will not want to miss this act as it is a performance that will shock everyone in attendance, even those aviation buffs. If you think a World War II transport plane can't perform aerobatics...then think again!
About the Pilot: Matt Younkin
Matt Younkin is the son of airshow legend Bobby Younkin and grandson of Jim Younkin (a well-known plane designer and airplane replicator). Bobby had performed numerous times in Battle Creek. His last time was in 2003, when he performed in his Learjet 23 and Samson biplane. Bobby Younkin was known for creating innovative airshow acts, from aerobatics in the amazing and powerful Samson Biplane, to aerobatics in aircraft that weren't designed for them, like the Beech 18 and Learjet. Today, Matt Younkin keeps his father's legacy alive by continuing to fly his father's aerobatic performance in the Twin Beech 18.
Matt learned to fly at the Age of 14 and was taught by the same instructor that taught his father how to fly. Matt soloed on his 16th birthday in his grandfathers 1928 Travel Air 4000 biplane. Matt has accumulated over 3000 hours of total flying time in his career and has flown over 75 types of aircraft, from the Piper Cub all the way to World War II bombers. Matt loves flying radio-controlled model planes and actually learned most of his aerobatic skills while flying them. He later went on to perfect these maneuvers in the Decathlon with the help of his father. Matt currently resides in Siloam Springs, Arkansas with his wife Michelle and daughter Kimmy.
In 2012, Matt Younkin was awarded the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He is the first second-generation recipient of the award (his dad previously won the award in 2004). "Considered young in the airshow industry by some and a veteran by others, Matt continues to amaze airshow goers with his unique ability to capture the crowd in the moment, much the same way his father Bobby and sister Amanda did for so many years".
About the Plane: 1943 Beechcraft C-18S (Twin Beech 18) "Miss Ellie":
The Younkin Family Beech 18 was built in 1943 by the Beechcraft Corporation in Wichita, Kansas (built as an AT-7C for military service). The airplane went into service with the Army Air Corps, being based at Houston's Ellington Army Air Field. The aircraft was re-designated as the C-18S when the Army transferred ownership of the plane to the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA). The plane served with the CAA until 1949 and then went through several owners (from serving as a VIP transport for the Department of Commerce, to being flown by a University). The aircraft was finally purchased by Younkin Airshows, Inc. in 2000. After a complete restoration, it came into service as a replacement for Bobby's original aerobatic Beech 18. After Bobby's untimely death in July of 2005, the Beech 18 spent two years in retirement as a static display in Tullahoma, Tennessee. Matt then debuted his version of his late father's airshow routine in the Beech 18 in Lakeland, Florida at Sun-N-Fun 2007. The Beech 18 is the flagship of Matt's Airshow Fleet. He feels it is the most special of his aircraft because his father first gained national notoriety by performing in the Beech in 1990 and continued to perform aerobatics in Beech 18s for 15 years.
"Miss Ellie" is the mascot for Younkin Airshows and is the nose art/name of the Beech 18. The aircraft, with the exception of the paint scheme, is essentially the same as when it was sold from military surplus in 1945. This classifies the aircraft as a true warbird, hence the reason it features nose art. How did the name come about? Check out more information about the act to learn. Let's just say, the Beech 18 has been referred to as the "White Elephant" of the airshow industry. Jeff Gibbs is the crew chief for the Beech 18 and one of Matt's good friends.
About the Act:
Matt Younkin flies one of the airshow industries loudest and smokiest acts. Not only that, but he performs it in the Beech 18, the largest civilian aerobatic plane on the circuit. The act is considered to be the most unusual act on the airshow circuit today. The performance is almost a mirror image of the one his father flew for many years. The performance begins and ends to light-hearted music ("Pink Elephants" from Disney's Dumbo). Why? Well, it's an overly obese plane executing maneuvers that its designers and airshow patrons never thought it could. The show ends with the "Elephant Waltz" dirty pass, which is a spectacle to believe. "The majority of the performance flows with beauty and grace to equally beautiful music and a tribute to Bobby Younkin". This is a powerful plane doing something it wasn't designed to do, but that doesn't mean it can't be done.
Don't miss this SHOW-STOPPING performance at this year's Field of Flight Air Show.
And yes, Matt Younkin will also be performing his critically acclaimed "Magic by Moonlight" Night Show during our NIGHT AIR SHOW this year. Look for more information on our Tentative Schedule of Events when we finalize the dates and acts for our Night Show.