Flying High – Senior earns wings, plans piloting career

Senior Cedric Hassman flies a plane he rents over Black Hawk County.

Senior Cedric Hassman was on his way back to Waterloo, but then his compass broke. This would not be a big deal, except for the fact that he was up in the air. Flying a plane. Alone.

“All of a sudden my compass did a 180, so I just kept going straight and hoped to see the airport,” Hassman said

“The compass broke, so I didn’t know where I was going. I just followed the roads because I knew which general way I was going because I was coming from Dubuque,” he said.
Fortunately, Hassman found his way back.

“I was tempted to call the tower and ask them where I was, but I ended up seeing it after a while,” Hassman said.

Long before Hassman started to be interested in flying airplanes, his grandfather owned a plane and small airline. With that inspiration from his grandfather, Hassman started lessons and now has been flying planes for a year and a half.

“The first part was just learning to fly in general. That was the easy part. You hop into the plane and learn while you are flying,” Hassman said.

“I took lessons about twice a week and have over 60 hours of flying now. I have flown my family as passengers too,” he said.

For one of Hassman’s tests, he had to learn how to recover from an engine stall in the plane.  

“You point the nose up and then angle it down and try to recover from it,” Hassman said.

“What I like to do when I am myself is go up and then nose dive it down and float for a couple of seconds,” he said.  After taking three long written exams, Hassman became a certified pilot.

Hassman’s pilot license limits him to flying single engine planes and not flying above 12,000 feet. In his longest flight, Hassman flew 200 nautical miles in one sitting. 

Flying in the air is completely liberating to Hassman.

“It is a freeing feeling. I can go wherever I want. There are some rules and regulations, but I can go anywhere besides that,” he said.

For the future, Hassman aspires to be a commercial pilot for an airline.

“I am going to get my commercial license so I can get paid for flying and then I may go to the airlines,” he said.

Before college, where he intends to study aeronautical engineering, Hassman will embark on a two-year sea excursion to travel the world working maintenance crew on a ship.

Even though flying a plane or traveling the world on a ship seems daunting for most, Hassman nonchalantly follows his passion. For his upcoming 18th birthday, Hassman plans on being up in the air, but with his whole family. Skydiving.

“It doesn’t scare me to be up high. I am a risky person if it interests me,” he said.  

 

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