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First look:YouTube sensationsFirst look:YouTube sensations

Stars in the aviation world

Do you know what happened on February 14, 2005? YouTube was launched by three young men who worked for PayPal. By April the first video was broadcast and in 2006 YouTube was the fastest-growing site on the web. So, Google purchased it, and three young men became very wealthy.
Pilot Briefing June 2020
Illustration by Sean McCabe

What does that mean for aviation? Smart aviators recognized that communicating our love for and the spirit of aviation could be effective using GoPro cameras to show the amazing sights only a pilot can see, facilitate instruction through virtual flights, and wow aviators and nonaviators alike with aerial adventures.

Effective, funny, or inspiring videos shared on YouTube can create large followings for their creators, and some of these personalities have become influencers on YouTube. It’s making some wealthy (the highest income-producing YouTube star is Swedish Youtuber PewDiePie, who has made $12 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth). A quick look for aviation-related videos discovered more than 50 YouTube channels and many personalities. We’re sure that’s a drop in the proverbial bucket. We asked AOPA staff pilots for their favorite YouTube aviation personalities and compiled a playlist for you:

Airboyd—Boyd Kelly is a commercial pilot who offers up videos of airline landings and mishaps.

Aviation 101—Josh Flowers takes you flying in his Cessna 172 in Texas.

Nancy Bradshaw—“Fly Good, and Not Suck” with this young, fun CFI from Florida.

BruceAirFlying—Fly along with Seattle-based pilot and CFI Bruce Williams.

Cargospotter—Big iron takeoff and landings.

Captain Joe and DutchPilotGirl—Airline pilots answer interesting and occasionally useful questions.

Captain Moonbeam—Jim Sorsby is a corporate pilot flying jets in the Midwest.

Cirrus Driver—Flights in the owner’s Cirrus SR22 are set to music.

Cirrus Instructor—Fly Maui, Hawaii, with Cirrus CFI Laurence Balter (“Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” March 2020 AOPA Pilot).

Bradley Friesen—Canada’s craziest helicopter pilot.

“Deon Mitton does a great job of combining fun, learning, amazing scenery, and showcases a lot of flying I think I would enjoy.” —Erick Webb, AOPA Outreach

     “Trent Palmer’s cinematography is awesome, and the videos show the fun, adventurous side of flying.” —Amelia Walsh, AOPA Communications

  “Nancy Bradshaw’s a regional pilot who has a deep love of GA and it shows. She’s young, enthusiastic, and embodies an aspect of aviation that generally isn’t well represented—young women of color in aviation.” —Jamie Beckett, AOPA You Can Fly
—Distinctive-looking (because of his facial hair, hence the name) self-professed “weekend warrior” pilot Steve Thorne provides flying stories, interviews, and tips and techniques.

Guido Warnecke—Citation V pilot shares what it’s like to fly this jet, as well as some other cool aircraft.

Live from the Flight Deck—GolfCharlie232 is a pilot chronicling his flights in a Boeing 737.

Matt Guthmiller—More adventures with the youngest pilot to circumnavigate the world.

Mentour Pilot—Live from Spain: behind the scenes at the airlines.

Mikey McBryan—Last year his PlaneSavers resurrected a historic DC–3, and he’s still at it (“The Magic of Plane Savers,” August 2019 AOPA Pilot).

Deon Mitton—Seaplane and adventure pilot Deon Mitton shares his adventures—with a lovely accent.

Trent Palmer—Backcountry flying in a big-tired KitFox.

Cory Robin—Backcountry pilot sharing fun and adventure (“Meet the Flying Cowboys,” October 2019 AOPA Pilot).

Sarah Rovner—Join life on the road with a transcontinental ferry pilot.

Steveo1kinevo—Airplanes and motorcycles and travel around the world.

310 Pilot—It’s a family affair with this Chicago-based Cessna 310 pilot.

Who did we miss? Email [email protected]

Email [email protected]

Julie Walker

Julie Summers Walker

AOPA Senior Features Editor
AOPA Senior Features Editor Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.

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