A most unusual pilot - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

A most unusual pilot

11-year-old Shaun Hoover 11-year-old Shaun Hoover
Captain Larry Bridell Captain Larry Bridell
Shaun's dad, Brent Hoover, and the rest of his family Shaun's dad, Brent Hoover, and the rest of his family
Reporter Sara Story braved the skies with the 11-year-old pilot Reporter Sara Story braved the skies with the 11-year-old pilot
GLADEWATER, TX (KLTV) -

By Sara Story - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

GLADEWATER, TX (KLTV) - Captain Larry Bridell has been a pilot for more than 40 years. But, this time he was not in control of the flight. The pilot was 11-year-old Shaun Hoover. He flew for the first time when he was 10, making him the youngest student that Captain Bridell has ever instructed.

Shaun took off with help from the captain.

"Well, when you first take off, your stomach kind of gets bubbly," said Shaun.

But once we were in the air, the steering wheel was all Shaun's. His parents say it is just another one of his adventures.

"[He is] fearless and almost to a point of scary fearless...he's never climbed a tree that he's scared of falling out of," said Brent Hoover, Shaun's dad.

Shaun became interested in this adventure because of a school lesson.

"I've been studying the wright brothers...how they made airplanes and I just thought that was pretty cool so I wanted to fly like that," explained Shaun.

He scored a perfect score on a flight simulator, and his dream is now a reality. But, for kids his age, it is hard to believe.

"I asked a kid if he wanted to go with me today and he said, 'Uh, uh, uh,'" said Shaun. "I show them my pictures and then they believe me."

After a fairly smooth ride in the plane, and a few lessons from Captain Bridell it was time for descent, and, for the first time, Shaun helped out with the landing.

"Part of the fun is when you see kids like that and want to learn how to fly and you see them become success stories," said Bridell.

"I want to keep flying forever," said Shaun. "I want to fly forever and I am going to do it until I'm older."

Back on land, Shaun earned his wings, a sign of what is to come in his future.

Shaun will have to wait a few more years before he can fly solo. If he passes the flying tests, he can get his pilot's license when he turns 16.

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