Positive Connections: 12-year-old pilot taking talents to new heights

Positive Connections

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — What were you doing at the age of 12? One Wichita kid is going above expectations, literally.

“I just love seeing aviation, love learning aviation,” said Jake Pappan.

Jake, 12, is a 6th grader at Discovery Intermediate School in Goddard. When he is not in class, he likes to play video games and explore his grandpa’s so-called man cave.

“He kind of owns this hangar,” laughed Wayne Bormann, Jake’s grandpa.

When Governor Laura Kelly shut down schools in the state in March, Jake found himself spending even more time at his grandpa’s house. That’s where he was introduced to flying.

“I took him for an airplane ride and I found out he had a nice, natural feel for the controls and it went from there. I have been teaching him how to fly and he has mastered it,” Bormann said.

Bormann is a master pilot and master mechanic. He too learned how to fly at a young age.

“By the time I was 16, I was taking my flying lessons,” Bormann explained.

It was only natural for Bormann to introduce his passion to Jake.

“He would go for a ride once in a great while. He had no interest to go with me, but that one day, just a few months ago, he got into the airplane and caught onto it,” he said.

“He let me have the control and that’s when… this is when I wanted to fly for the rest of my life,” Jake said.

From that moment on, Bormann has been teaching Jake the ins and outs of aviation. He considers the youngster a natural pilot.

“He is good. He knows his instruments. He knows how to control the airplane very well. He does everything we need to do as a private pilot. He does turns. He does emergency landings,” Bormann explained.

Jake keeps track of his flights and his mileage in a logbook given to him by his grandfather.

“It talks about my stalls, hours, where I flew, what plane I was in and what seat I was in,” Jake said. “I love the way he is teaching me and I love that he is my grandpa.”

KSN had to ask Jake what his friends, particularly the girls at his school think about his pilot status.

Jake was quick to smile and say, “I think they are not telling me that they like me, but I think they like me!”

Jake and his grandpa get up in the air as much as they can. In the future, Jake would like to become a commercial pilot. Until then, Bormann said he will work to teach him everything he can about aviation.

“Over the next few years or couple years, I am going to get him where he gets so efficient at flying by the time he is 16, he will be able to get his student pilot’s license which is nothing more than just a physical. Then, he will be ready to solo at 16. He will be able to take that airplane and just fly it on his own. By the time he is 17, he will have his private pilot license,” Bormann said.

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