The sky’s the limit for student pilot Hunter Nedin

Hunter Nedin (11) spends his afternoons in the cockpit flying and taking classes at Falcon Field in Mesa.

Tony Vu, Staff Reporter

Among the roughly 3,700 students here at Hamilton, there are bound to be students with hidden talents.   One student in particular soars high above the rest, and that’s Hunter Nedin (11).  Hunter operates planes and has been flying for two and a half years.  To others around him, his interest in flying is nothing short of intriguing.

“They’re more blown away by it because most people don’t start flying airplanes as early as I am,” Hunter chuckled when asked how other students react to his hobby.

Hunter plans on obtaining his private pilot license on his seventeenth birthday, which is the minimum age anyone can be licensed to fly.  It comes at no surprise then that his fascination for airplanes began back when he was just a child.

“My dad’s friend would sometimes fly down here from work and he would ask me if I wanted to fly with him. After that, I was pretty much hooked on the idea of learning more about planes and becoming a pilot,” explains Hunter.

Hunter’s head was never in the clouds as he was grounded by his perseverance and effort to excel in his hobby.  With the support of his parents, he has been able to explore the possibility of a long-term pilot career.

“They’re happy because I’m doing what I want to do. My mom was a little worried at first, but as I kept flying, she was fine with it,” Hunter said.

So what does it take to become a young, skillful pilot?

“Definitely, a lot of money was involved; I had to do a lot of studying as well and practice as much as I could,” said Hunter.  “It all paid off because being in the aviation field has a lot of benefits.”

Just like Hunter indicated, there are definitely perks of being an amateur pilot. He has the chance to soak in the scenery when making a quick trip flying to cities like Sedona, Payson, and Prescott.

“Sedona is by far my favorite place to fly to because of the scenery it offers. The airport is on top of the mountain, and the weather is enjoyable as well,” he explained. The other benefit is that he gets to operate multiple plane models and meet other young pilots.

“I have operated over four planes: the Piper Cherokee 180, Steerman, Mooney, Staudacher 600, the Breezy and more,” says Hunter.

He completed his first solo session at the age of sixteen, the youngest age possible. Most would assume that flying for the first time would be an anxious and nerve-racking experience, but such was not the case for Hunter.

“I wasn’t really nervous, more like excited because I had a lot of confidence.”

Hunter also works with a group called the “Aviation Explorers Post 352,” where members have meetings, maintenance, and ground school at Falcon Field in Mesa.  Every opportunity spent learning and practicing with airplanes is another step toward his goals in aviation.

“My plan is to go to college and get all my licenses to become a flight instructor. Then, when I get enough hours, I can become an airline pilot,” said Hunter.

On the occasions that Hunter’s feet are on the ground, he enjoys other activities such as cooking and participating in sports such as snowboarding and wakeboarding.  Hunter Nedin’s passion for flying is one that encourages others around him to pursue their dreams and reach for the sky.