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National Aviation Week: Local pilot runs aviation mentoring program for Indy youth

National Aviation Week: Pilot runs aviation mentoring program for Indy youth

National Aviation Week: Pilot runs aviation mentoring program for Indy youth

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) –  Monday kicks off National Aviation Week. It’s a time to honor the history of flight.

Commercial pilot Captain Ryan Lynch hopes to make his mark on the industry by helping mentor the next generation of aviation leaders.

Lynch founded the Indiana ACE Academy nine years ago through a partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration and in support of the Indianapolis International Airport.

Its goal is to get youth in Indianapolis excited about a career in aviation through talking with professionals in the industry, going on field trips and getting behind a flight simulator.

Students that take part in the program use the facilities at Vincennes University Technology Center.

As a pilot with Republic Airlines, Lynch says children are curious about his job and often ask questions like how much does a pilot make? And what are the biggest airplanes you can fly?

Lynch had the same questions growing up.

He told News 8 he found his passion for flight at 5-years-old while on an airplane ride at Disney World.

He then spent most of his childhood at an airport on the city’s northeast side and got his pilot license at 15-years-old.

“A lot of people don’t know that you can get a pilot license before a driver’s license, said Lynch.

Despite support from his parents, Lynch said he wanted mentorship from people who loved planes as much as he did.

“I started this program to give other kids the opportunity to learn about jobs and careers in the field of aviation. A lot of people think just of being a commercial airline pilot, or a flight attendant or a mechanic or an air traffic controller. There are even more additional jobs you can get involved in and they may be something you may like,” said Lynch.

In its first year, the Indiana ACE Academy had 15 students.

Lynch said in the last nine years, the program has mentored 1,200 students with about 900 now in some type of aviation job.

His goal is to reach more kids in the state through his parent organization, the NAYR Foundation Inc.

“I have the best office view in the world at 30,000 feet,” Lynch said.

He told News 8 celebrating National Aviation Week is to look back at how far aviation technology has come, where it is now and to see where it will take off.