Adlynn Lay recently took his great-grandmother, “Grammy Cracker,” with him on a night flight.
Adlynn Lay recently took his great-grandmother, “Grammy Cracker,” with him on a night flight. (Photo: Adlynn Lay)

Student-Pilot Brings 91-Year-Old Great-Grandmother on Guest Flight

For Embry-Riddle student-pilot Adlynn Lay, taking his 91-year-old great-grandmother, “Grammy Cracker” (Anna Duncan), for a recent airplane ride was an honor that allowed him to combine two of his greatest passions: aviation and family.

Adlynn, a sophomore flight student working on his instrument rating, had brought his mother, Amy Lay, on several flights before as an observer, but this was a first for Grammy Cracker, who lives in Pennsylvania and was new to campus. “She didn’t seem nervous during the experience at all,” Adlynn said. Instead, she was excited: After getting clearance through the Flight department, it was all she talked about for days before takeoff. 

Anna Duncan (“Grammy Cracker”) put on her headphones early as her great-grandson, Adlynn, conducted pre-flight check-in.
Anna Duncan (“Grammy Cracker”) put on her headphones early as her great-grandson, Adlynn, conducted pre-flight check-in. (Photo: Adlynn Lay)

Together, Adlynn and Grammy Cracker conducted pre-flight checks. They strapped in, put on their headphones, and it was wheels up. 

“It’s so special to take a great-grandmother along with you,” Adlynn said, especially one as energetic, positive, and curious as Grammy Cracker. “She was amazed at the smoothness of the flight and didn’t know which way to look — each view was so nice to her!”

Grammy Cracker peered out through the night sky as she picked Adlynn’s brain for “pilot tips,” and Adlynn remembered all of the times that she had supported him throughout the years. Now, he was supporting her, carrying her through the sky before bringing them both back down, gently, onto the flight line. Neither would soon forget the time they spent together in that cabin. 

“It’s a lifetime experience for her, and it was a privilege for me,” Adlynn said. “There was hardly a bump in the sky that evening.”

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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is the world’s largest, oldest and most comprehensive institution specializing in aviation, aerospace, engineering and related degree programs. A fully accredited university, Embry-Riddle is also a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities and government agencies. A nonprofit, independent institution, Embry-Riddle offers more than 100 associate, baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering and Security & Intelligence. The university educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through its Worldwide Campus with more than 135 locations in the United States, Europe and Asia, and through online programs. For more information, visit erau.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.