General Aviation News reports that Eric Whyte of South Milwaukee, Wisconsin has won the Young Eagles Leadership Award.
The award was presented by Phillips 66 Aviation at the EAA AirVenture. Whyte is the first person to be both a Young Eagle and a Young Eagle volunteer pilot. He has been active with the EAA for 25 years and has flown approximately 600 Young Eagles.
Young Eagles, sponsored by Phillips 66 Aviation, is a program designed to introduce children to flight. It provides one free ride in a general aviation aircraft. More than 2.3 million children have taken Young Eagles flights.
Whyte grew up in aviation and has attended AirVenture for over 30 years. He has volunteered at the event since he was a child. Whyte’s charmed childhood motivated him to volunteer for the Young Eagles.
“As I got older I realized how fortunate I was to be able to attend AirVenture, so I’m always trying to get more kids involved with the program to expose them to aviation like I was,” Whyte said.
In addition to his work with the Young Eagles, Whyte has volunteered for other programs. He worked as a dispatcher and coordinator with AERObridge in the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. He is now Vice President of Aviation Community Relations for AERObridge.
Whyte is also the founder of the AirVenture Cup Cross Country Air Race. The race recently celebrated its 20th anniversary.
Whyte has nearly 10,000 hours logged in a variety of aircraft. He has been a Certified Flight Instructor for over 20 years, and is a Demonstration and Instructor Pilot on the Eclipse jet.
One of Whyte’s Young Eagles has also started to give back as a volunteer. “We’ve flown several Young Eagles events together. It’s pretty cool.”
Eric McMurphy, Phillips 66 Aviation Director of Sales, General Aviation, U.S., believes Whyte is a worthy recipient of the Leadership award.
“I’m proud to recognize Eric as this year’s EAA Young Eagles Leadership Award Winner for his unwavering dedication to the Young Eagles program,” McMurphy said. “On behalf of Phillips 66 Aviation, I sincerely congratulate him for all that he’s contributed to the EAA Young Eagles and to the future of aviation.”