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Busy year at Northern Air

January 10, 2019
Michael Hunner
Pilot Michael Hunner
2018 was a busy year at the Boundary County Airport. Spring and summer ushered in new students and huckleberry pancakes. On the last Saturday of every month, May through September, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) hosts a fly-in breakfast open to all community members. The proceeds benefit the Young Eagles Flight Scholarships for local youth.

The next breakfast will be in May 2019, and Northern Air always posts reminders on our Facebook page, so be on the look-out!

This year’s scholarship winners are Heidi Overman, Nicole Blackmore, Zachary Love and Clayton Love. If you’re interested in applying for the EAA scholarship, visit their website at www.757.eaachapter.org.

In addition to flight training and scenic tours, the airport is a major hub for the US Forest Service during fire season. This year, turbines, helicopters, smokejumper Sherpas and air tankers were stationed periodically at our little airport to assist fire-fighting. Northern Air’s twin turbine engine aircraft, called an Aero Commander, returned from the Avionics Shop this fall and will fight fires with the Forest Service in summer of 2019.

Recently, three of our wonderful flight instructors pursued their calling to the mission field.

Northern Air was proud to have Nathaniel Cheshire, Phillip Negaard and Jacob Geyman as part of our team. Although we said farewell to these great instructors and pilots, we say “Welcome Aboard” to Steve Parsons! He completed his commercial license, advanced ground instructor certificate, and became a flight instructor in just two short years. When he’s not flying, Steve and his coworker Abbey the Avalanche Dog are part of the Schweitzer Ski Patrol team.

One of our own, Johannes Snyder, moved to Alaska early in 2018, where he completed his instrument rating and commercial pilot’s license. This summer, we welcomed back Dalin Hubbard, and on July 23, he received his commercial pilot’s license. Jennifer Brandenberger received her high performance/complex rating in our Piper Comanche on September 9 with instructor Rick Durden.

The first milestone when learning to fly is the first solo flight. In the old days, the instructor would tug on the student’s shirttail to get their attention and then yell instructions because there were no radios. It became tradition for student’s shirttails to be cut off by the instructor after the first solo flight as proof that they could fly the plane without the instructors guidance.

This year, we have cut a few shirttails; On May 11, Richard Lee made his first solo flight with instructor Wayne Sommers. Visiting us from Alaska, young couple Josiah Zitterkob and Janelle Christiansen soloed on June 13 and June 19 respectively with instructor Dave Parker. In October, Chad Staker made his first solo flight with Dave Parker. Brad Anderson and Chris Jones soloed in mid-November this year with instructor Steve Parsons.

And last, but not least, Michael Hunner soloed on November 6 and received his license on December 9.

Michael moved from Kodiak, Alaska, to get his license with Northern Air, and finished in just over three months. After getting his license, Michael said “flying for me is based on my inspiration to set higher goals for myself. After I get my private license, I feel that the next door in life will open up, whether that means commercial, airlines, or something else. I’m sure God will let me know.”

Michael will spend the holidays with his family in Washington, and plans take his Mom flying. Congratulations Michael!

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