GREENFIELD, Iowa — Connie Rex Younger, a man with Nodaway County ties, was announced as a 2022 inductee into the Iowa Aviation Museum Hall of Fame.
Nicholas A. Turner, of Elliott, Iowa, was the other inductee in the 2022 class.
An induction program for the two men in conjunction with a fly-in will be held on Saturday, Aug. 27.
Younger was born July 18, 1939, on a family farm southwest of Elmo to Rex and Margaret Younger. He attended schools at Elmo and Maryville, graduating in 1957 from Washington High School in Maryville.
Younger had a lifelong interest in aviation that began to grow when his older brother, Charles, became a licensed pilot.
According to a statement submitted to the Hall of Fame by his family, Younger joined the Navy hoping to become a pilot, but he was unable to pass the vision requirements and chose the appointment of Navy musician instead. He served for four years as a naval musician with Unit Band 182 based at Yokosuka, Japan, and at the Charleston Naval Base in Charleston, South Carolina.
Following his service, Younger graduated from Northwest Missouri State College in 1965 with a degree in music education. He became music director at the Nodaway-Holt school district in Maitland and Graham, and played saxophone in a dance band.
In 1968, after leaving music education, Younger became a full-time carpenter and helped his dad build homes in the Maryville area.
He took flying lessons at Rankin Field in Maryville and after attaining his ratings, he devoted his career to aviation and soloed after just seven hours of flight instruction, the statement noted.
After earning a master’s degree in aerospace education from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 1971, Younger taught FAR Part 141 flight and ground instructor in glider and fixed-wing aircraft at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana from 1970-1976.
From 1976-1996, he began his career at Iowa State University, serving as FAR Part 141 flight instructor, FAR Part 91 USU Flight Services staff transportation pilot in the Beechcraft King Air 200, Cessna 414 and Aero Commander AC 500 aircraft. He was promoted to chief flight instructor within one year. Younger transported sports teams and coaches, professors and state officials. According to the family’s statement, he oversaw Iowa State’s FAR Part 141 Private Pilot program.
In 1990, Younger launched CY Aviation Inc. and began managing the Boone Municipal Airport in Boone, Iowa. Upon retiring from Iowa State in 1997, this became full-time, the statement mentioned. He continued for 26 years until 2016, making him one of Iowa’s longest-serving fixed-base operators.
Younger continued to instruct flight students and serve as an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner, as well as being an airframe mechanic. He also taught glider flying in Ames, Iowa, and seaplane flying on the Mississippi and Rock Rivers in the Quad Cities area and on the Saylorville Reservoir near Des Moines.
In his spare time, he flew aerobatics in his Citabria and enjoyed flying his 1946 Aeronca Champ on snow skis. According to the statement, he flew for Denali Air in Denali Park, Alaska, from 2013-2014, providing flightseeing tours in the Piper Navajo aircraft and from 2004-2014 (excluding 2005 and 2006, for Kantisha Air Taxi as FAR Part 135 flightseeing pilot in the Cessna 210 aircraft).
Younger was the first known Iowa pilot to fly for both Kantishna Air Taxi and Denali Air. During this time, he flew over 1,000 passengers in a single tourism season. He qualified as a USDA Intragency Pilot in Alaska in 2004.
He logged over 20,000 accident-free pilot hours during the course of his aviation career, including 3,000 multi-engine, 2,000 tailwheel, 700 glider and 150 seaplane.
Younger passed away on Aug. 1, 2016 at his home in Madrid, Iowa. At the time of his death, he held the following licenses and ratings: Airline Transport Pilot – Airplane MEL, commercial privileges; Airplane SEL and Sea, Glider; Gold Seal Certified Flight Instructor – Airplane SE/ME, instrument airplane, glider; Certified Ground Instructor – Advanced and Instrument; and Aviation Mechanic – airframe.
According to the statement, he received numerous awards and honors including: Certificate of Award – 1-26 Association for longest glider flight in Region 7 in 1973; FAA Designated Pilot Examiner; FAA Safety Counselor, 1994; FAA Gold Seal Flight Instructor. He received the FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award in 2019. He served for 26 consecutive years as fixed-based operator of the Boone Municipal Airport. He was also featured in magazine articles, including one by famed author Gordon Baxter and FLYING Magazine, and was invited to critique aviation-related books and manuals for the Iowa State University Press. He was a published composer of “Sea Wise March” for concert band, published posthumously in 2018.