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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Gerry Younger

Guelph's Gerry Younger, 75, whose love affair with flying began as an air cadet in a gliding program in England some 60 years ago.

Gerry eventually became interested in competitive aerobatics and has won the Canadian championship eight times. Planes cost more money than he had at the time so he built one from scratch at the Guelph Airpark,to get the performance he needed.

A highlight of his career was qualifying for the World aerobatics championship in Kiev in 1976. He met Dick Chapman who was a foreman for Wardair and Dick spoke to Max Ward who agreed to fly him and his aircraft to Frankfurt Germany! He and four Wardair mechanics and Dick stripped down his plane for shipment to Germany where they reassembled it to fly to Russia.The Russian pilot was assigned to take the Americans, British, and European pilots to Russia and Gerry told the tale of being taken on a round about way to an airport quite far from where the competition was being held!  This was so the his group couldn't get much practice for the show! However, the Americans won the competition, and Gerry did very well! Gerry then flew back to Frankfurt where the same crew brought he and the Pitts Special bact to Toronto!

He has also done the air show circuit and was a solo act at Toronto's Canadian National Exhibition for four years.
"It's a scary place to do it because you lose sight of the horizon over the lake," said Gerry.
For about 15 years he ran an aerobatic training school here and was a training instructor at other clubs. Now a freelance instructor, he flies for fun a few times a week and has no plans to retire.

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