Young North Georgia Flyer Goes Solo

Sunday, December 23, 2012 - by Kent Whitaker
Cutting the tail
Cutting the tail

Countless numbers of young children have fallen in love with the idea of becoming a pilot. Imagine a child holding a toy plane in their hands while making a “whoosh” sound as they move the tiny aircraft through the air.

Steven Hudson of Rome, Ga., is a 16-year-old student at Rome High School and a cadet in the school’s Air Force ROTC. He is taking his dream of flight and turning it into a reality. "Ever since I had the opportunity to sit in the captain's seat of an L-1011 when I was four years old I’ve been drawn to flying,” he said.

 

If you were in the Rome Georgia area and looked skyward last Wednesday there’s a good chance that you may have seen Steven completing his first solo flight as a student pilot in a Cessna C-172. With the completion of his solo flight Steven Hudson is one step closer to finishing a goal that he set after taking in a day with the locally based Tiger Flight Foundation at the age of 11.

 

According to Steven’s mother, Janice Hudson-Huff, the Tiger Flight visit was a defining moment in Steven’s life after moving from Canada to the Rome area. “When we moved here I wanted to find something like the aviation camps he would attend in Canada,” Ms. Huff said. “While watching the local PBS TV station I saw an interview with some of the guys from Tiger Flight at the Rome airport. I called the airport and they put me in touch with Tom Calvanelli of Tiger Flight and he invited us out for one of their Second Saturday events.”

 

The Tiger Flight Foundation, based at Rome's Richard B. Russell airport, is a non-profit flight-based motivational program for kids that is designed to encourage goal setting and working towards those goals. The foundation also hosts flying events on the second Saturday of every month, offers school tours and even has a paperback book based on the program titled Jake and the Tiger Flight.

 

They also have a growing hanger-based military museum and planes painted in orange and blue tiger strips. It was enough to convince Steven that he wanted to do more than dream about being a pilot. After attending the program and going for a ride in one of the Tiger Flight planes Steven set his goal… and he has worked towards it.

“Tiger Flight is a place where anyone can set a goal and work towards that goal,” Steven Hudson said. “I started volunteering and became a member when I was 11 years old and helping out around the hanger and with events over the years has really helped the process of earning my wings,” he said. “The motivational speech inspires anyone to earn their wings on any goal they set. The years I spent volunteering at Tiger Flight pushed my desire to pursue aviation even further."

 

According to Steven’s mom, the visit to Tiger Flight and her son’s efforts to become a pilot have actually become something that the family enjoys together. “We came out for one of their flying events and Steven became a ‘hangar kid’ like Jake in the Tiger Flight young reader book Jake and the Tiger Flight,” Ms. Huff said. “We came, we saw, we volunteer and we’ve never left!”

 

Steven see’s his goal of becoming a pilot as something that has grown as he has matured. Like every child dreaming of becoming a pilot the “whoosh” sound while holding a toy plane is motivation enough. As a 16-year-old young man in today’s world becoming a pilot and completing a solo flight combines that childhood thrill with something else. "It's a completely different world up there, you see it from a new perspective,” he said. “You feel… free… and separated from the commotion of the world below."

 

Kent Whitaker is a author, culinary writer and sports writer living in Chattanooga. You can follow him on twitter @thekentwhitaker .

At the airport
At the airport


Tennessee National Guard Prepared If Need Arises During Eclipse

From Clarksville to Athens, Tennessee is at the epicenter of next week’s eclipse. With the eclipse comes thousands of visitors, and the Tennessee National Guard is well prepared. Guard Soldiers and Airmen will work with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency to support local and state authorities as needed.  "This is part of the Guard’s dual mission, we not only fight ... (click for more)

Rotary District Governor Speaks At Rotary Club Of Chattanooga Hamilton Place

Rotary District 6780 Governor spoke at the Rotary Club of Chattanooga Hamilton Place this week.  Deborah Alexander-Davis addressed the club, discussed upcoming events, and thanked the club for donating over $399,000 to the Rotary Foundation.  Ms. Alexander-Davis also provided insights and encouragement regarding the Rotary's focus.   Rotary is dedicated to six ... (click for more)

Excitement Builds As Tennessee Valley Prepares For Monday's Eclipse

Sandra Nicholson, director of the Edu-Care Daycare Center on Signal Mountain, is as ready for  Monday’s  historic solar eclipse as she’s ever going to be. It took some doing, she said, but she has finally enough pairs of NASA-certified solar safety glasses for everyone in her family.  She’s just one of the tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley area residents ... (click for more)

Berke, Hinton Moving To Have City Removed As Trustee Of Confederate Cemetery

Mayor Andy Berke on Friday said he has asked City Attorney Wade Hinton, on behalf of the city of Chattanooga, to file the necessary paperwork "to confirm the city is no longer listed as a trustee of a Confederate Cemetery on East Third Street." Mayor Berke said, “Our action today makes it clear that the city of Chattanooga condemns white supremacy in every way, shape and ... (click for more)

Mayor Invites Civil War II - And Response (17)

I just received an email from the Mayor stating that he filed paperwork to remove the city of Chattanooga as the trustee for the Confederate Cemetery on Third Street. I understand the Mayor's intent was to distance the city from it's racist past and subsequent hate, but I feel like this is an interesting move without much thought of the consequences. The Mayor prefaced his ... (click for more)

Berke Plan To Solve Discrimination Is To Kick Dead Veterans To The Curb

Racism and discrimination is wrong. What is the best way for a parent to teach a child the evils of discrimination? Should the parent demonstrate and repetitively incentivize the proper behavior? Or, would it be more productive to badger the child over and over again for the sins of the child's g-g-g-grandfather who died 150 years ago? Would burning the personal effects of the grandfather ... (click for more)