2018 Featured Performers
Beech 18 — Matt Younkin
Matt Younkin is a third generation pilot. He is the son of Bobby Younkin who is considered to be one of the greatest airshow pilots of all time.
Matt is also the grandson of Jim Younkin who is well-known for designing Century and Trutrak autopilots as well as building replicas of the 1930's Howard "Mr. Mulligan" and Travel Air "Mystery Ship" race planes. Matt learned to fly at the age of 14 in a Piper J-3 Cub. At age 15, the same instructor who taught Bobby how to fly, refined Matt's piloting skills. On his sixteenth birthday, Matt soloed his grandfather's 1928 Travel Air 4000 biplane. Matt to date has flown over 85 different types of airplanes ranging from the Piper Cub to the Boeing B-29. He is also a fully rated flight instructor, has over 5,000 hours of total flying time, and currently resides in Siloam Springs, AR.
Matt is also an accomplished radio-controlled model airplane pilot. Like his father before him, Matt learned most of his aerobatic skills by flying R/C models and later refined them in the Super Decathlon. Bobby gave Matt two hours of aerobatic instruction which focused mainly on slow rolls. Bobby said, "Almost every aerobatic maneuver is based on a slow roll. If you can master the slow roll, you can master anything."
When Matt took the Decathlon out to perfect his slow rolls, he soon discovered that he could perform every maneuver that Bobby performed in the airplane at shows, plus a few new ones of his own. Matt spent his first couple of years in the industry performing at airshows in the Super Decathlon and in the world's only flying example of the Travel Air "Mystery Ship." At Sun n Fun 2007, Matt debut his version of the aerobatic act made famous by his father in the Beech 18. This act continues to be described by producers and fans alike as one of the most beautiful and graceful displays the industry has to offer.
Matt's latest and greatest achievement is perfecting the world's only night aerobatic display in a Beech 18. Equipped with over 50 externally visible lights, the top airplane appears to glow in the dark while the bottom side twinkles violently. Combined with smoke, noise, choreography, and an incredible musical score, the Twin Beech Night Spectacular is quickly becoming one of the most sought after acts in the airshow arena.
At Airventure 2012, Matt became the first second-generation recipient of the coveted Bill Barber Award for Showmanship. 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.
Look for Matt and his Twin Beech at an airshow near you for many years to come.Next Performer >