By Larry A. Crapo, Young Eagles Coordinator – EAA Chapter 403
Ryan Crapo (Cray-po), EAA 1189921, from Reno, Nevada, was 11 years old when he decided that he wanted to be a pilot. As a kid, his dad took him to the Reno Air Races and to various aviation museums around the country as his interest in aviation continued to grow. He first became interested in flying while working on his Boy Scouts Aviation Merit Badge at Minden Airport at Minden, Nevada. It was there that he got introduced to EAA’s Young Eagles program.
His first flight was at the Carson City, Nevada, airport at an EAA Young Eagles event where he got a ride in a Grumman AA-5A Cheetah and a chance to handle the controls. He was hooked. Ryan immediately joined the EAA Young Eagles program and EAA Chapter 403. At Chapter 403 he participated in a “build-a-plane” project that was a Zenith Zodiac and got to meet many pilots that encouraged him to pursue his pilot certificate.
He wanted to start flight training but no flight school would take him because he was too young so he went over to the Truckee, California, airport and asked Soar Truckee, a glider school, if they would teach him how to fly. They took him on as a volunteer and trained him how to launch and recover gliders. In lieu of compensation, they also gave him glider flight lessons and taught him mountain flying at 12 years old. To gain more flying experience, Ryan pieced together his own flight simulator with a yoke, joystick, rudder pedals, etc., using a variety of flight simulator software packages for gliders and powered aircraft and the extra experience paid off.
Ryan obtained his glider pilot certificate before he got his driver license. With his glider certificate under his belt, he began working on his private for single-engine powered aircraft and was awarded the Hobbs Education Scholarship from Carson City EAA Chapter 403 where he first started, which helped pay for the rest of his flight training. He recently obtained that certificate and with 100-plus hours of total flight time, Ryan decided to “pay it forward” and has volunteered to be a Young Eagles pilot at Carson City EAA Chapter 403 and help other kids get the chance to experience the thrill of flight.
His flying debut as a Young Eagles pilot was on July 9 at Carson City Airport at the Carson City EAA Chapter 403 Young Eagles event. After demonstrating to one of our senior pilots that he knew the pattern that we fly for our Young Eagles events, he flew a Cessna 182 for several hours, taking eager Young Eagles for a ride.
Ryan has now headed off to Southern Utah University’s commercial flight program and has begun working on his commercial certificate and his B.S. degree in aerospace/aviation sciences with a fixed-wing emphasis.
Ryan’s goal is to become an airline pilot when he graduates.