Jeremy Blyer

The National Headquarters of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) in Oshkosh, Wisconsin has selected local EAA Chapter 5 as one of the chapters able to provide up to $10,000 to a deserving youth (ages 16 through 19) for their flight training expenses through the Ray Aviation Scholarship Fund. EAA Chapter 5 has in turn selected 16-year-old Jeremy Byler, from Bristol High School in Bristolville, to be their 2020 Ray Aviation Scholarship recipient.
Jeremy showed interest in aviation several years ago, while hanging around the Geauga County Airport in Middlefield, Ohio and taking a Young Eagles Flight. He has also flown with several chapter members in their airplanes and helped with several of the chapter events including Community Pancake Breakfasts, Pedal Plane rides for the little ones, Summer Youth Aviation Camp for middle school students and the Flying Start Event for adults who want to learn to fly. “Jeremy was selected by the chapter for the Ray Aviation Scholarship based on his motivation in learning to be a pilot and his involvement with Chapter 5,” says Ray Aviation Scholarship Chairman Tim Niederkorn.
On the 4th of July, Jeremy and his father met with Niederkorn and Al Kettunen, flight instructor for Kettunen Aeronautical INC at the Germack Airport in Geneva, Ohio to begin the process. A plan of regularly scheduled flight lessons was established, and Jeremy began his lessons early the following Wednesday morning. Now that school has started, Jeremy takes his lessons after school, three times a week, weather permitting. As part of practicing basic skills, Jeremy is working on turns, climbs & descents, stalls, take-offs & landings, ground reference maneuvers and communications in a Cessna 172 airplane. Mother Nature has provided some challenges for Jeremy lately, as the winds have been pretty strong. On Friday, September 25th Jeremy, and his instructor did a couple “touch-and-goes” at the Northeast Ohio Regional Airport in Ashtabula and then the plane came to a full stop on the taxiway for his instructor to exit the plane. After a few last-minute reminders, Jeremy was alone in the cockpit and ready for his First Solo Flight! The 16-year-old pilot performed a text-book take-off, flew once around in the pattern and “greased” his first landing. As Jeremy taxied back to the runway past his instructor, Kettunen gave the signal and Jeremy repeated the process two more times. To commemorate this momentous occasion, Derek Maple, an employee of the airport, brought out a souvenir T-Shirt to present to Jeremy. After his third landing, Jeremy stopped to pick up his instructor for the short flight back to his home base airport, Germack. It was there that Ray Aviation Scholarship Chairman, Tim Niederkorn and his wife Sherry met them for a few ceremonial traditions. When asked about his flight, Jeremy replied, “It was just cool! I wasn’t really nervous. The first landing, I didn’t have any wind, then the second one I had a bit more, and the third one even more, but I had squeaks!” Before his solo, Jeremy’s logbook contained just over 21 hours of dual instruction. Upon returning to Germack, it was updated to reflect his first solo time entry. A specially designed T-Shirt from EAA National Headquarters commemorated the event recording the date, time & place. As tradition calls for, his shirt tail was cut out to be put on display. In addition to his training in the air, Jeremy has also been attending an online Ground School. The next official step in the process of becoming a pilot is to prepare for and pass the FAA Private Pilot Written Exam.

The Ray Aviation Scholarship Fund is a scholarship program that is supported by the Ray Foundation,
managed by EAA, and administered through the EAA Chapter network. The EAA Chapter 5 will play a critical role to ensure the Ray Aviation Scholarship recipient is staying on track to earn his pilot certificate.

In addition to flying in and out of Germack Airport in Geneva,  Jeremy  also flies to Northeast Ohio Regional Airport in Ashtabula for his flight lessons.

Jeremy Byler (age 16) leaves his
instructor behind and is alone in the
cockpit as he taxis away for his First
Solo Flight on Friday, September 25th

Jeremy Byler, from Bristolville smiles
immensely having completed his First
Solo Flight at KHZY and has returned
to his home base of 7D9.

Ray Aviation Scholarship Chair, Tim
Niederkorn (R), greets Jeremy Byler
upon completion of his First Solo
Flight. Jeremy is the EAA Chapter 5
recipient of $10,000 from the EAA
Ray Aviation Scholarship Program to
help with his flight training expenses.

As tradition has it, Ray Aviation
Scholar Jeremy Byler will get his shirt
tail cut off commemorating his First
Solo Flight on September 25th in a
Cessna 172.

Certified Flight Instructor (R)
congratulates his student (Jeremy
Byler) upon completion of his First
Solo Flight.
Article and photos submitted by Sherry Niederkorn