My name is Tyler Pandis. I am a 17-year-old high school senior (student/athlete) from Orange County, California. Both my parents work full time for the federal government as special agents, and my father is also a retired United States Navy lieutenant commander, serving 20 years in the Navy Reserves. I live with my parents and my 15-year-old brother.
My college plan is to major in strategic and corporate communication with a minor in entrepreneurship, at Chapman University, where I have been admitted. Upon graduation, I plan to pursue a career as a venture capitalist, while I volunteer coaching youth lacrosse teams in my community.
I was introduced to model aviation as far back as I can remember. My father was an avid model airplane enthusiast, competing in giant-scale warbirds and jets. At 9 years old, I had my first airplane, an E-Flite T-28 hooked to a buddy box with my dad teaching me the radio commands. Slowly, I progressed to bigger and faster airplanes, eventually earning my turbine waiver at 11 years old. Along the way, I met model aviation legends including Frank Tiano, Bob Violet, Col. Thacker, Sam Wright, Peter Goldsmith, General Ray Allen, and Ali Machinchy. Each one gave me words of wisdom, mentorship, and guidance in my pursuits of model aviation. I competed in local Southern California and Arizona events including Big Joey, Best in the West Jet Rally, Coachella Jet Jam, Hemet Jet Rally, Winter Warbirds, Warbirds over Chino, and many others. At each events, I was recognized and awarded with numerous awards to include Rookie of the Year, Best Jet Performance, Best in Show, Best Warbird Performance, Best Sport Jet and many others.
In 2019, I received the highest honor of being personally invited to attend Top Gun, by Frank Tiano. I entered into X-Class with a BAE Hawk where I competed against some of the top pilots in the world. I finished X-Class as a third-place winner at the age of 13. In 2020, Top Gun was impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. In 2021, I returned to Top Gun, having been personally invited by Carol Tiano. In preparation, I was personally mentored by Peter Goldsmith and Ali Machinchy, both having been awarded Mr. Top Gun. These two legends coached me on how to be a winner at Top Gun. I competed in X-Class, again winning third place in the overall X-Class competition, while winning first place in Static Judging, with a 1/3.5 scale BAE Hawk.
After Top Gun, I was invited to become a Team Member for Elite Aerosports, flying the EA Havoc at West Coast Events for Team Elite Aerosports. Today, I continue my aeromodeling passion as a hobby while juggling my senior year of high school, along with varsity lacrosse.