Becoming a pilot is thirteen year-old Chase’s ultimate dream. Doing Barrel rolls and hammerhead turns doesn’t seem to faze this young daredevil.
Despite being diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma, a form of Non-Hodgkins lymphoma, Chase remains an adventurous teenager who has taken ahold of his ambitions. After enduring six months of Chemotherapy, Chase was officially in remission from his cancer. He defeated his illness, but still struggles with liver issues as an effect of his chemotherapy treatment. Regardless of these health issues, Chase flew all the way from his home state of Kentucky to Hawaii, to fulfill his wish of visiting Pearl Harbor and flying in a WWII plane.
On Memorial Day weekend, it was full speed ahead for Chase, as he was about to take off in an aerobatic glider with Hank Bruckner, owner of Kaimana Aviation. Fitted in his own custom flight suit, Chase was ready for his quest through the clouds. Unfortunately, Chase was unable to fly in an authentic WWII plane due to age requirements and Air Force sequester cuts. However, he was able to get the full experience of a true pilot thanks to Bruckner, who allowed Chase to assist him in flying the 1983 single-engine propeller plane during their hour long flight over the island’s vibrant green mountains and pristine Hawaiian blue waters.
With Chase by Bruckner’s side, the two executed several aerobatic stunts that got Chase’s heart pumping! After realizing the young man’s natural ability, Bruckner even allowed Chase to do a few Barrel rolls unaided! He’s got a good touch,” Bruckner said, giving Chase a boost of confidence as a pilot.
Prior to his sky high adventure, Chase visited Pearl Harbor and the Pacific Aviation Museum where he was given a VIP tour. Surrounded by fascinating planes and loads of WWII history, Chase couldn’t help but smile brightly at what will one day be a part of his future. Although his wish had been fulfilled, Chase’s vacation on Oahu wasn’t over. During the remainder of his stay at the Sheraton Waikiki, Chase, his mother, and two family friends were able to relax and enjoy the beauty of the island.
Chase’s time in paradise was not only a vacation to escape his illness, but also marked the start of fulfilling his greatest dream. Escaping the world and all his worries, Chase’s passion for aviation was ignited during his time in the sky. When Chase realizes his dream of becoming pilot, he will surely never forget his first piloting experience, soaring through the clear blue skies of Hawaii.
Special thanks: Hank Bruckner-Kaimana Aviation, Pearl Harbor, Pacific Aviation Museum, Sheraton Waikiki, Sea Life Park