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Posted: Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009

UNCC graduate relishes adventure

Kim Becknell Williams
Published in: Regional News

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“I like being under pressure,” said Tyler Dunn of Stallings.

Tyler graduated magna cum laude from UNC Charlotte in May with a degree in mechanical engineering. Rather than accepting an engineering job, he will begin officer training with the goal of becoming a Naval aviator.

Tyler, 22, relishes adventure.

One hobby is mountain climbing. He spent 30 days on a glacier in British Columbia with no contact back home. He jokingly refers to the experience as “pre-military training for Mom.” (Tyler's parents are Wyatt and Terri Dunn of Stallings.)

In travels abroad, he learned to appreciate the comforts of living in America – security, prosperity, freedom.

Becoming a Naval aviator seemed right.

“It's important to have a passion about what you're doing,” Tyler says.

He and childhood friend Ben Potter left last week for a short road trip to explore New England. Today, Tyler starts 12 weeks of training in Newport, R.I.

Then it's one adventure after another. Next is the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla., where his education will include simulated helicopter crashes and hypoxia chambers, where students experience what blackouts feel like.

Primary flight school follows. Then he learns what he'll fly: fighter attack planes, helicopters or large fixed-wing aircraft.

The whole training process takes two to three years. His flight commitment is eight years.

“I'll barely be in my 30s when I'm finished,” he says.

For a guy who likes pressure, loves adventure, Tyler Dunn is off to a pretty good start.

E-mail Kim at

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