It was at the Hamilton Air Show when LearnToFly.ca editors, Greg and Geoff McKay, met up with Matt Younkin of Younkin AirShows. Matt learned to fly at age 14, and he is an exceptional aerobatics pilot! Matt received the 2012 Bill Barber Award for Air Show Showmanship. Matt is a 2nd generation recipient of this prestigious award in the Younkin family.
It was Matt Younkin’s first performance in Canada with his Twin Beech 18 Acro, and we were there to obtain some exclusive video to give you a “behind the scenes” look. Our Younkin Twin Beech 18 Video Tour includes a close look at the Twin Beech 18 Transport airplane and in-depth interviews with Pilot Matt Younkin and also his valuable and trusted Crew Chief Jeff Gibbs.
The Younkin name is very well known in the Aviation world. Matt’s father, Bobby Younkin, was considered to be one of the greatest air show pilots of all time, and Matt’s grandfather, Jim Younkin, is well recognized for his contributions to aviation. Aviation is in the Younkin family blood, and Matt is carrying on the Younkin name and tradition is an amazing and thrilling way!
Exclusive Video: Matt Younkin Interview and Twin Beech 18 Aerobatic Air Show
Matt’s view from the cockpit of his Twin Beech 18 Transport Plane
Beechcraft Model 18
Walter Beech founded the Beechcraft Aircraft Corporation in Wichita, Kansas, back in 1932. The Beechcraft Model 18 is commonly known as the Twin Beech 18, and it is a twin engine, low wing, conventional gear, transport aircraft that seats 6 to 11.
70 Year Old Beauty
It’s hard to believe, but Matt Younkin’s Twin Beech 18 is almost 70 years old. Manufactured in 1943, by a workforce of women during war, N9109R was beautifully and meticulously restored by the Younkin family. Considered to be one of the best restored and best maintained Twin Beech aircraft in the world, Younkin’s Beechcraft Model 18 is truly amazing.
Matt’s father, Bobby Younkin, acquired the Beech 18 in 2000, and he began the hard work of restoring the aircraft to the pristine condition you now see. After a complete restoration, N9109R debuted as an Air Show Performance aircraft.
Matt Younkin took over flying the Twin Beech in 2007, and Matt has been stunning crowds with his Twin Beech aerobatic performances ever since.
Matt Younkin’s Aerobatic Performance in his Twin Beech 18 is one of the best air show performances you will ever see. Remember, the Twin Beech was never designed as an aerobatic aircraft, but rather it’s a transport category airplane. But, Matt seems to ignore this fact, and he performs an awesome aerobatic routine that is exciting, fun and fresh.
Roll on Take-Off
The performance begins with a low level roll on take-off, and that’s something you don’t see very often with a non aerobatic airplane. From there, you see many rolls, loops, steep turns, wing-overs, slow flight, 8 point rolls, and many other aerobatic manoeuvres.
The Elephant Waltz
The performance is beautifully choreographed to the music of the Elephant Waltz. The “Elephant” Theme is ideal as you see the large, lumbering, Twin Beech dancing in the air and performing precise aerobatics. The theme resonates well as you are dazzled by the agility of the large, bulky, twin transport plane.
Miss Ellie Nose Art
I love the Nose Art on the Younkin Twin Beech. Aircraft Nose Art should be memorable and the look and theme of the nose art should invoke emotions that resonate with the style, character and personality of the airplane.
The “Miss Ellie” Nose Art is great because it matches the time period (Circa World War II) when the Twin Beech rolled off the assembly line in 1943. Additionally, the Miss Ellie connection with “Elephant” is very iconic and suitable. (“Ellie” – short for Elephant)
Miss Ellie – Official Mascot
The “Miss Ellie” character in the Nose Art is sitting on a crescent moon, and she is pulling a “Beech 18″ out of her magic hat. The magic of the airplane as it dances to the “Elephant Waltz” ties in beautifully. Also, the incorporation of the crescent moon in the nose art promotes the night time act performed by Matt Younkin.
Magic by Moonlight
The “Magic by Moonlight” performance is a spectacular night time aerobatics act with the Twin Beech 18 entirely lit up with 50 colourful lights, strobe lights, and spot lights. Legally, an airplane must have Aircraft Navigation Lights, but with “Magic by Moonlight”, the entire Twin Beech is lit up including bright lights within the nacelles that cover each of the Twin Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior nine cylinder radial engines.
Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior
The Twin Beech is powered by the two huge radial engines pushing out 450 hp each from their 985 cubic inch power plants. The 9 cylinder radial engines are standard air cooled using conventional gas and oil feed systems.
These engines were not designed for inverted flight, and great care must be taken to ensure “Positive G’s” are maintained to keep the engines running.
Well known United States Air Force Test Pilot and Aerobatics Pilot Bob Hoover pioneered many of the aerobatic techniques still used today to coax these non-aerobatic engines to continue running during manoeuvres they were never designed to handle.
When you see Matt Younkin performing incredible aerobatics in his Twin Beech 18 Acro, it’s crazy to think the aircraft and the engines were never designed to handle such extreme manoeuvres.
The cockpit of the Twin Beech has traditional Steam Gauges, that Matt loves.
The standard Six Pack of Primary Flight Instruments are using the traditional round (Steam) Gauges instead of the newer Glass Cockpit format. As the airplane was built 70 years ago, it relies on the older, mechanical controls connected by chains, cables and push rods. You can see the mechanical nature of the controls that vividly contrast with today’s newer “fly by wire” controls on many new aircraft.
As there are Twin Engines, the critical engine instruments are stacked in pairs, with the Left and Right instruments side by side for fast visual checking and monitoring. The throttles, prop levers, mixture controls, manifold heat, and oil shutter door controls are all centrally located in pairs for easy access by the pilot or co-pilot.
The Twin Beech 18 Airspeed Indicator Gauge is a standard steam gauge with typical coloured markings for Important Airspeeds. The White Arc, Green Arc, Yellow Arc, and coloured line markings are all significant, and these have standard meanings recognized by pilots. (Read about Airspeed Indicator Markings for more details)
Twin Beech 18 Airspeeds
During the Matt Younkin Pilot Interview, Matt highlights the critical airspeeds for the Beech 18 including the Stall speed, Rotate speed, Gear speed, Top of the Flap Arc speed, Critical Engine speed, Best Rate of Climb Single Engine speed, and other speeds. Matt knows these airspeeds like the back of his hand, and he has logged over 800 hours of Pilot In Command time the Twin Beech.
Trusted Crew Chief
Matt’s trusted Crew Chief for the Twin Beech is Jeff Gibbs. Jeff is responsible for keeping the Beech 18 in pristine form, and Jeff has an incredible passion for this airplane. During the Younkin Twin Beech Video, you can see Jeff Gibbs explaining details about the aircraft, and his enthusiasm and loyalty shine as he talks about his important role on the Younkin Airshows Team. Evey time Matt flies the Twin Beech, he is putting his life in the hands of Jeff Gibbs, and Matt has the utmost confidence in Jeff’s skilled work.
Bob Hoover Manoeuvre
Following the example of the great Bob Hoover, we see the great Matt Younkin maintain positive G’s as he takes the Twin Beech 18 inverted during his air show routine. Through the many rolls, loops, wing-overs and other aerobatic manoeuvres, Matt must closely watch the acceleration units (G-Force units or G’s), to maintain a steady and uninterrupted supply of fuel and oil flowing to the Twin Radial engines by getting back to positive G’s as soon as possible.
Browse the Twin Beech 18 Photo Gallery for some incredible photos of Matt Younkin’s Beechcraft Model 18 aircraft and his Aerobatics performance.
“Fly By Chain”
Before the days of “Fly by Wire”, it must have been “Fly by Chain”, as you can see the manual chain on the control yoke of this 70 year old aircraft in the Beechcraft Model 18 Photo Gallery!
Ride along with Matt
Watch the Video to see inside the Twin Beech and “Ride Along” with Matt during his first Air Show performance in Canada. Matt Younkin and his Crew Chief Jeff Gibbs are both really nice guys. It was awesome to spend some time with Matt and Jeff, and we look forward to seeing their unique and exciting performance again.
Check out the official Younkin Airshow website at:
Thanks to Matt Younkin, Jeff Gibbs, and Younkin Airshows for an awesome performance in Canada.