DLH to GRR | Business
J. Bennett Rylah
Brian Ryks has been interested in aviation since he was in college, living in the Twin Cities area. His neighbor was a captain for Republic Airlines, and one day, he asked Ryks if he wanted to go flying.
"He picked me up and we drove south of town to an area between a couple of cornfields at the end of this big gravel path," Ryks recalls. "There was a grass runway between two cornfields. His friend was pulling out a Stearman -- an old, vintage, bi-wing aircraft with a big radial engine. A big yellow plane, the kind they use for barn storming. He started it up and told me to jump in. I put on the old leather goggles and we took off and flew around. When I was up in the air, looking around, I said, 'I need to get involved in aviation somehow.'"
Originally, Ryks aspired to be a pilot and received his private license. He was working on a commercial license, but decided he needed to find a job to manage the high costs of becoming a pilot. He took an internship at the Metropolitan Airports Commission, where he was immersed in all aspects of aviation. Following his internship, he was invited back for a part-time job, which became permanent. His career path changed from being a pilot into aviation administration, and his...