Willy Lytton prefers to have his head in the clouds.
At 15 years old, while many kids his age are learning the art of the steering wheel, the Polson, Montana, teen finds himself behind the yoke of a Cessna 150.
Lytton’s father, Lee, has been teaching him how to fly ever since the boy was 12, but Lee introduced Willy to planes long before then.
“My dad’s always had me in a plane since I was little,” Willy said. “I’ve been flying for as long as I can remember.”
Lee worked as an air traffic controller in the Vietnam War and he later became a pilot. He passed his love for airplanes to Willy, who spends a lot of his time passing it down to younger kids.
At age 10, he and his older brother Wyatt started the Blue Skies Aviation Program in memory of Sparky Imeson, an aviation instructor and friend of the family.
“We go to different schools and talk about aviation,” Willy said. “We show them the excitement of flying.”
The Lytton family goes around and teaches children about the science behind flight, as well as many of the finer points of flying a plane, including taking off, landing, navigating and communicating with air traffic control.
Willy’s weekly schedule can get busy. Another of his interests is shooting, which brings him to the National High School Finals Rodeo in Gillette this week, where he will compete in both trap shooting and rifle shooting. He said he tries to shoot Thursday through Sunday every week.
But he still finds time to take to the air two to three times a week. Lytton doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. He said he hopes to turn it into a career. His dream is to be a fighter pilot for the Air Force.
Although there are many aspects of flight that he enjoys, Lytton said his favorite is “seeing everything from a bird’s-eye view.”
“It’s a lot more fun than driving a car,” he said. “There’s nothing like it. You can go from place to place much faster than a car, and with a great view.”