Aviation Is Ryan Lynch’s Sweet Spot

This Eagle pilot has a sweet business that nurtures students

At LiftOff Creamery in downtown Indianapolis, you can pull your chair up to a table made from a section of an airplane wing and enjoy 35-40 flavors of ice cream, topped off with nuts, candies, fruit toppings, syrups and a little aviation ambiance. With names like Traffic Pattern (mint chocolate chip), Load Factor (cookie dough) and 7700 (rich fudge with chocolate chunks), the ice creams, sherbets and other treats do more than tickle the taste buds. They give workers and patrons the scoop on aviation careers.

Ryan Lynch (’06) was presented with Indianapolis’ first Vendor of the Month award.

The aviation-themed ice cream shop is the brainchild of Republic Airways Captain Ryan Lynch (’06) who saw an opportunity to help young people learn the basics of running a business while promoting aviation careers. Founded in 2020, Ryan chose his own neighborhood, the historic Herron-Morton district, for the take-off location. Promotions invite visitors, “Let’s soar to deliciousness.”

“LiftOff Creamery has become a staple to the community and provides great opportunity in building our next-generation workforce,” Lynch says. “This includes professional development, customer service and leadership skillsets. Aviation continues to have barriers to careers within the industry, and developing interests and skills at an earlier age is a key to success.”

LiftOff Creamery is the cherry on top of a long career dedicated to breaking down barriers to aviation careers. Now a captain with Republic for six years (where he has also founded a mentorship program), Lynch wears many hats beyond his captain’s cap, including serial entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist, youth advocate and STEM educator.

“LiftOff Creamery has become a staple to the community and provides great opportunity in building our next-generation workforce,”

Ryan Lynch (’06)

Nearly 20 years ago, Lynch founded Indianapolis ACE Academy to introduce students from elementary through high school to aviation fundamentals and career options in the industry. Doubling down on that effort, he recently set up a nonprofit, National Aviation Youth Resources, or NAYR (which is Ryan, backwards) to help the next generation navigate the many options in aviation.

“I’ve had 16,000 students in my program and 10,000 have moved into the industry as pilots, flight attendants, air traffic controllers, business executives and other roles. I have 51 students now at Republic Airways,” says Lynch. At least one former student was accepted to Embry-Riddle.

His community continues to show appreciation for Lynch’s dedicated outreach (and delicious treats). In recognition of its mentorship, LiftOff Creamery was named the first Vendor of the Month by Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and the city’s Office of Minority & Women Business Development.