HE was born into a family in love with flying so it's no surprise budding Evans Head pilot Tyler Boyd is cut from the same cloth.
The Lismore 326 Australian Air Force Cadets Squadron cadet was one of only six young people accepted across the state into an exclusive flying course at the Australian Air Force Cadets Flying College in Bathurst.
"Heaps of people apply for it every year, it's a privilege," Tyler said of the achievement.
Yet it somehow wasn't surprising for a kid who grew up with flight simulators in the house and surrounded by a flying-mad father, a grandfather who was an aircraft engineer with the Royal Australian Navy, and a great uncle who flew in Bomber Command over Europe, sadly dying in 1942 aged 20.
After a week of intensive training in Bathurst, Tyler flew solo in a Cessna 172, earning his "wings" with the flying college.
"I had flown solo in a different aircraft a year before, but the Cessna was a lot smoother and punched through turbulence better. It's a great training aircraft.
"The training pilots at the cadet flying school have really helped me hone my flying skills and to become professional in my attitude."
Tyler is aiming at a career as a commercial pilot with an airline, but is keeping his options open to join the Royal Australian Air Force after he completes Year 12 at Trinity Catholic College in Lismore.
He's also passionate about supporting local aviation, serving as a junior member of the organising committee of the Great Eastern Fly-In at Evans Head next month.
But there will be no "top gun" life for him - he's interested in flying big planes, not fighters.
"It's a lot different flying a big jet rather than flying a supersonic small fighter jet," he said.
"When you're in the RAAF as a business jet pilot, you can come right out and go straight into an airline because they have the same operating procedures."
"Flying the business jet around you get to fly heads of state around the world; (for example) last week they flew Tony Abbott to Japan."
His next goal is to obtain his private pilot licence with Aussie Air Charters in Ballina then when he finishes school to study at Wings Academy on the Gold Coast to earn his commercial licence.
From there, he will follow the well-worn path of commercial pilots who roam the country and the world working in charters until they clock up the flying hours to compete for airline jobs.
"You need to get a lot of qualifications, a lot of theory and practical work," he said.
"You also need to do over 1500 flying hours, just to get into an airline. Then to be an international pilot you need to do a lot more.
"It takes a lot of hard work but in the end it will be really worth it. There is nothing better than being up there in the clouds and feeling free like a bird."
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