Benji Hersman as kid in 1946 Piper Cub
Eagles' Wings Flight Training

Serving the Beautiful Greenbrier Valley of West Virginia since 1984

Student Pilots I have Soloed


Updated April 3, 2020

I have always said that flight instruction is a good job, if you like to see other people's dreams come true! It has been a privilege and a pleasure to share in the dreams of so many people. Below is a table of student pilots I've soloed, beginning in February 1985.


All of these flights have taken place at either Hinton-Alderson Airport (WV77, formerly W59), at Pence Springs, West Virginia, or Greenbrier Valley Airport, at Lewisburg (LWB). So the listing uses these airport identifiers.


Pilot's names marked with an asterisk (*) actually accomplished their very first solo flights somewhere else, usually at a much earlier date. Maybe because of a long time lapse, (sometimes decades) or using a different aircraft, regulations, and prudence, required a fresh solo, and the review leading up to it.

You'll also find a few other notes of local aviation history here.


Name Date Airplane Model Airplane License Airport
Doyle (Butch) Boothe February 11, 1985 Cessna 150 N5964E WV77
John Dowdy June 29,1985 Cessna 150 N5964E LWB
Bob Jagodzinsky September 16, 1985 Cessna 150 N5964E WV77
Robert E. Sheppard October 26, 1985 Cessna 150 N5964E WV77
Terry Fleshman December 11, 1985 Cessna 150 N5964E LWB
Jack D. Nelson December 30, 1985 Cessna 150 N5964E LWB
Jeff A. Ming April 30, 1986 Cessna 150 N5964E LWB
*Edward W. Breit May 28, 1986 Cessna 206 N5EA LWB
Delbert L. Kerns June 21, 1986 Cessna150 N5964E LWB
Ronald S. Wojieck July 24, 1986 Cessna 150 N5964E LWB
Kieth A. Holliday October 1, 1986 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Paulmer (Junior) Weikle November 11, 1986 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Chuck Bradac November 11, 1986 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Dr. Stephen Sebert February 11, 1987 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Walter W. Breeden February 25, 1987 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB

Name Date Airplane Model Airplane License Airport
Judson Howard May 1, 1987 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
*Charles W. Bates May 2, 1987 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Dave Fisher May 8, 1987 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
*William T. (Bill) Mauzy June 11, 1987 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Lonnie Burns June 11, 1987 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Gary Dove July 28, 1987 Cessna 150 N22648 WV77
Doug Harold July 31, 1987 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Randy Scott August 21, 1987 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Elizabeth (LIz) Wickline September 21, 1987 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Richard Derby October 5, 1987 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Templeton (Tempie) Stone October 17, 1987 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
*Robert Burdeaux October 24, 1987 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
*Tom Briers October 24, 1987 Cessna 150 N5964E WV77
Bob Ausband March 11, 1988 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Mike Francis May 13, 1988 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Name Date Airplane Model Airplane License Airport
Paul Armentrout June 3, 1988 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
*Lee Dowdy June 15, 1988 Aeronca Chief 11-AC N9513E LWB
David B. Snyder July 11, 1988 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Victoria Faith Hersman July 16, 1988 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Jesse Groseclose August 31, 1988 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Emily Peltier September 6, 1988 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
David Arritt November 1, 1988 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Allen Redden November 3, 1988 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Kent Hersman November 3, 1988 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Kent went on to become an US Army pilot flying both helicopters and fixed wing.
He retired from the Army in 2011.
Michael Carpenter December 10, 1988 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Kent Redden January 21, 1989 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Mary Kent February 17, 1989 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
David Hall, Sr. March 8, 1989 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Kevan Fitzgerald May 22, 1989 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Name Date Airplane Model Airplane License Airport
Lori Faris July 15, 1989 Cessna 150 N22648 WV77
Phillip Surface September 18, 1989 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Alan Ferris February 26, 1990 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Gary Munsey February 26, 1990 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Melanie Humprey August 20,, 1990 Cessna 172 N35388 WV77
Charles Lewis September 6, 1990 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB

Name Date Airplane Model Airplane License Airport
Joe Meredith September 18, 1990 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Annie Durrett December 1, 1990 Cessna 150 N22648 WV77
Joe Allen February 1, 1991 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Rod Strong April 6, 1991 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Charles Brown May 14, 1991 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Rick Brownlie July 5, 1991 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Ben Reynolds September 3, 1991 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Robert Morgan October 16, 1991 Cessna 150 N22648 WV77
Robert soloed on his 16th birthday!
Jon Friday September 1, 1992 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Tom Cullen September 15, 1992 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Zeke Lanek September 7, 1993 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Jerry Cook June 16, 1994 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Benjamin Hersman November 26, 1994 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Ben soloed the day after his 16th birthday!
John Garrison February 27, 1995 Cessna 150 N22648 WV77
Ron Pettrey May 8, 1995 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Dave Mayo May 22, 1995 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Larry Kemper August 23, 1995 Cessna 150 N2659J LWB
At this point we spent two years as educational missionaries in Papua New Guinea!
Flight training resumed early in 1998.


*Alan Williams June 22, 1998 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Jack Roark June 23, 1998 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Terry Lusher July 18, 1998 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Donna Nickell September 12, 1998 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Hannah Keru December 15, 1998 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Hannah is a citizen of Papua New Guinea, and one of the few PNG women to ever have a pilot's license. There is much interest in aviation among PNG young people. Hannah is now married to Ken Siminji, lives in the capital city of Port Morseby. She has five children, and is the administrator of Lighthouse Christian Academy.
Pete Franken August 2, 2001 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Troy McCoy September 4, 2001 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Mike McClure September 4, 2001 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Lydia Joseph January 2, 2004 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Lydia is also a Papua New Guinea citizen. She is now married to Pastor Titus Tauliebu, and has 2 chidlren. She is the administrator of Ufeto Christian Academy, and teaches aviation ground school in PNG.
Name Date Airplane Model Airplane License Airport
John Gibson, Jr. October 11, 2004 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Tim Sheppard December 18, 2004 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Lloyd H. (Sam) Gwinn Septmber 7, 2010 1941 Taylorcraft NC-34042 WV77
*Gary Morris September 15, 2010 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Kourosh Kahkeshani November 12, 2010 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Charles Bradley January 29, 2011 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Tiffany R. Jagger June 29, 2011 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Xenophon (Xeny) Mucciarone February 6, 2012 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
John Stockie June 8, 2012 CTLS N939CT WV77
N. Joel Thomas October 5, 2013 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Harry Humphreys July 22, 2015 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Andrew Dowdy September 1, 2015 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Andrew soloed on his 16th birthday. He is the son of John Dowdy who was my second solo student 30 years earlier. When Andrew soloed his Dad was operating the control tower at LWB.
Name Date Airplane Model Airplane License Airport
Adam Haymond November 23, 2015 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Patrick Pastrana August 4, 2016 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Danielle Price May 15, 2017 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Rudy Swatzyna August 22, 2017 Cessna 172 N4310Q LWB
Damani Mitchell September 30, 2017 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Malachi Kratz October 26, 2017 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Emma Grant April 26, 2018 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB
Kalab Hughart March 19, 2019 Cessna 150 N22648 LWB

Pictured above, is our son Benji in Tate Mauzy's Piper Cub about 1980. Why is this kid on a page about soloing? Well, first of all, it's a cute picture, and I did actually solo this boy, about 14 years or so after this picture was taken. Ben soloed on the day after his 16th birthday, in November 1994. That day he accomplished his first successful deer hunt in the early morning, and his first solo flights in the afternoon. You can see a picture of his own son near the bottom of the page.

Contact Us


David H. Hersman, CFI
Eagles' Wings Flight Training
1458 Henson Road
Clintonville, West Virginia 24931-7158
Phone: 304-392-2035
Cell phone/ text: 304-661-2534
Email: david@eagleswings.net

David H. Hersman, CFI, after first solo flights, March 19, 1977.

My Own First Solo

My first solo flights were on March 19, 1977, at Greenbrier Valley Airport (LWB) under the supervision of my instructor Ruth Tolley Gwinn. Later, nine of the first 10 people I soloed were in this same 1959 Cessna 150, N5964E.

David H. Hersman, CFI, after first solo flights, March 19, 1977.

My Solo Flights

First Solo, March 19, 1977. I did most of my student solo flying in this airplane, including my longest cross-country flights. Back then, you had to have at least 20 hours of solo experience, including 10 hours of cross-country time, in preparation for a Private Pilot's License. A 300-nautical mile cross-country was required. Mine was from Lewisburg, West Virginia (LWB) to Bristol, Tennessee (TRI), over the remote mountains to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, (INT) and back to Lewisburg. It really amazes me how quickly a small airplane can put you into an environment, or vicinity, so far away, and often so different from your home area.

Patrick Pastrana, First Solo August 4, 2016

Patrick Pastrana Solo.

.

This is Patrick Pastrana after his first solo flights. Greenbrier Valley Airport, August 4, 2016.

Danielle Price. First Solo FLights, May 16, 2017.

First Solo!

Danielle Price is all smiles after her first solo flights, May 16, 2017, before the new paint job on the fuselage.

David Hersman, Kalab Hughart, first solo March 19, 2019

Kalab Hughart's Solo Flights

David Hersman with Kalab Hughart after Kalab's first solo flights in Cessna 150, N22648, March 19, 2019, the 42nd Anniversary of my own first solo, and at this same airport.

Levi in the Cockpit, fall 2015

Future Solos!

This is our grandson, Levi Hersman, the son of Ben who is pictued in the Piper Cub at the top of the page. He was about 3 years old at the time of this photo, fall 2015.

David Hersman, Carter Higginbotham, October 3, 2018

Kids grow up!

Here I am giving an airplane ride to Carter Higginbotham, the great-grandson of a local legendary pilot, Don Hill, who passed away in 2000. It was an honor to share this flight in remembrance of Don. October 3, 2018.

Isabelle with Cessna 150, N22648, LWB

Our First Great Grandchild

Our first great-grandchild, Isabelle Snoe, turned 16 in December. I've gotta get back from Papua New Guinea, and teach these kids to fly. Photo June 2018.

After so many accolades for being the first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong told a group of pilots, eagerly waiting to hear of his unique experience:

"Pilots take no special joy in walking. Pilots like flying."



CLICK HERE for EAGLES' WINGS HOME PAGE

Copyright © 1997-2020 Eagles' Wings Flight Training