Flying to the top
BY JONATHAN KANE
Evan Hesselbacher, a Wood River High School senior carrying a 3.56 grade point average and consistently on the honor roll, loves to fly. A member of the baseball team and an avid skier, Evan also performs for the WRHS all-male singing group The B-Tones and has a strong interest in video production.
But all signs point to a future in aviation for this young man. On one level it certainly makes sense because his father is a commercial pilot for Delta, his mother, a retired flight attendant, and his older brother is training to become a commercial pilot.
Evan’s first time behind the controls of an airplane came at the tender young age of 6, with his father sitting beside him in the cockpit.
“I remember falling asleep before takeoff. I couldn’t stay awake,” he said with a laugh. “Then I would take the controls and I remember feeling pretty comfortable because, of course, my dad had full control. I also remember us fooling around with weightlessness.”
Another memorable experience came when Evan was 12 and was accompanying his brother while applying to flight schools.
“I must have looked a lot older because the flight instructor let me take the controls for a takeoff and landing. When he asked me if I was going to school and I said I was only 12 years old, his eyes got really wide.”
Evan also remembers the time when a future as a pilot really clicked.
“My brother had just gotten his private pilot’s license and he flew up from Boise to pick me up. On the way back to Boise, the sun was setting and it was really special and that’s when I decided that I wanted to be a pilot.
“Up until then, I had wanted to go into engineering, but this was the point that I realized how boring engineering would be and how exhilarating flying is. I guess it was also because I was bonding with my brother, but the beauty of flight really struck me.”
Evan’s passion encompasses everything about flying.
“From the pulling on the stick and lifting off the ground, the speed that you fly at and the amazing feeling of freedom – I love it all.”
Evan will be attending Gallatin College in Bozeman, Mont., in the fall. It is a two-year flight school affiliated with Montana State University.
“When I’m done, I will have all the ratings to be a pilot as well as a four-year degree in business from MSU. I want to be a commercial pilot and you need a four-year degree to go far in the field.
“In the two-year program, I will earn my private license as well as an instrument license, multi-engine certificate, multi-engine instructor certificate and become a certified flight instructor. This will all allow me to teach and to be paid as a pilot.”
As a pilot, Evan can pretty much live anywhere he wants.
“I love to ski, so it might be right here at home.”
Wherever that is, Evan Hesselbacher is sure to be flying with a big smile on his face.
Editor’s Note: Anyone who would like to recommend a Blaine County School District student for The Weekly Sun’s “Student Spotlight” feature should contact Jonathan Kane at firstname.lastname@example.org.