14-year-old soars to new heights
A Kingman teen may get his pilot's license before he gets a chance to drive his first car.
Joseph Sheble broke his family's record for the youngest pilot to fly a glider solo. Joseph was 14 when he soloed on June 28.
His father, Joe, was 16 when he first flew solo in a glider.
Joseph comes from a family of pilots - his grandfather, father, mother and younger brother all know how to fly.
He has been learning how to fly since he was 10. His parents, Joe and Val, own Sheble Aviation in Kingman and Sea, Sail and Tail in Fort Mohave.
"It's like a means of transportation to us," Joe Sheble said.
The flight school has around 30 powered aircraft and gliders. The gliders are based in Fort Mohave where the winds and thermal updrafts are better for flying.
It's easier to meet the requirements for a glider's license, Joe said.
Because gliders do not have an engine and are less complex, younger pilots and pilots with certain health problems, such as diabetes, are allowed to fly them.
The light aircraft are pulled aloft by another plane and then released at a specific altitude. The glider pilot then depends on the wind and thermal updrafts to keep the plane aloft.
It's a lot like how birds fly, Joe said. They're very easy to fly, if you know what to look or feel for. A good glider pilot knows how to look for and how to use an up draft, down draft or thermal to his flying advantage. It's a trick that takes a while to master, Joe said.
Joseph will have to pass a written test, a Federal Aviation Administration flight test and log 10 solo hours of flight in a glider to get his license.
Ten hours of solo flying doesn't sound like much until you realize that most glider flights last less than 20 minutes.
The goal is to have at least one hour of airtime per day, Joe said. That could mean as many as four or five flights a day.
Joe worries more about his son's quad racing than his flying.
"I trust him," he said. "This has been a dream of mine - to teach my sons how to fly."