17-year-old Ray scholar John Barber, EAA 1246041, completed his checkride on June 21, officially becoming the first 2022 scholar to complete training and earn their certificate.
Aviation seems to be in John’s blood, with both of his parents flying.
“My dad was in the military, he flew Blackhawks and he flew KC-10s, and then my mom is also a pilot, so I already had a big background behind me, an aviation family,” John said. “What really got me started is actually going to the air show and seeing the A-10 with the shark teeth and all the weapons on it. That really put a spark in me for some reason to want to continue going on.”
Becoming a fighter pilot has been a dream of John since he was five, and he’s worked hard to accomplish that dream. He earned his glider certificate on his 16th birthday, and is currently a C/CMSgt for the Civil Air Patrol. As part of the CAP, John is attending the Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Program through Columbus AFB.
“I’m learning how to fly the T-6 when I’m there, so I’m pretty excited about it,” John said.
John says that a large part of his success is thanks to receiving the Ray Aviation Scholarship from his local chapter, EAA Chapter 677.
“I was really blessed to have that opportunity,” John said. “I know there’s a lot of people that don’t have that opportunity, so I took advantage of it and I just flew as much as I could.”
So what do the next few years look like for John?
“My goal is to join the guard, Air National Guard, any fighter Air National Guard that will take me, I don’t care where it is, I’ll just go,” John said. “I’d like to do the airlines, too.”
Have you reached a milestone recently? Passed a checkride, given your first or hundredth Young Eagles flight, flown your homebuilt for the first time? Tell us about it at EAA.org/Submissions.