July 28, 2012— In 1998, Matt Anger was a busy high school senior, involved in athletics and getting ready to go off to college in the fall.
But when he took his first EAA Young Eagles flight, everything changed.
"I was kind of kicking and screaming on the way there; I really wasn't into the whole idea," Matt said. "But I did it and I was hooked. I loved it."
Fourteen years, a few jobs, and a lot of determination and passion later, Matt is now a pilot for a United States Air Force C-5 Galaxy transport aircraft.
Only a few weeks before he was to leave for Point Loma Nazarene University to study business, Matt decided he was meant to do something else.
"I was like 'I really don't want to go there, I want to fly,'" Matt said.
And that's exactly what he did.
Matt stayed home in Camarillo, California, got a job at the local FBO, and worked his way through flight school.
Tom Ridderbush, president of EAA Chapter 723 in Camarillo, is very proud of Matt's accomplishments and knew from the beginning that he was on the right track.
"He's the first person we ever hired at the FBO," Ridderbush said. "He was always telling me that he wanted to be a pilot."
While working at the FBO, Matt spent a year at Ventura College before transferring to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU). He was about to graduate from ERAU in 2003 after only two years, thanks to flexible transfer credits from the smaller institution.
After graduation, a job with AVEX working with Socata TBM helped him land an interview with the U.S. Air Force in March 2008, which brought him to where he is now - piloting that huge C-5 on Phillips 66 Plaza.
The 1986 C-5 is typically a six-person flying operation. It is scheduled to be upgraded to the M model within the next couple of years.
"I love doing this," Matt said. "The C-5 is a great airplane."
Matt's visit to AirVenture 2012 with the USAF C-5 is his first non-mission flight with the aircraft.
"I have a buddy who, for the last six or seven years, has been trying to get me to come out here and I started joking that the first time I did I would come with the C-5," Matt said. "But that's just what happened. It's unbelievable."
Being in Oshkosh brings things full circle for Matt, since EAA's Young Eagles program is responsible for sparking his interest in flying in the first place.
"It literally changed my whole life," Matt said.