Freshman Belle Bonn takes on new experiences through flying airplanes

From the age of 11, Bonn has flown planes through the Johnson County Executive Airport

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After years of flying experience, freshman Belle Bonn proudly displays her flying handbook, on Tuesday, Jan. 23.

Sydney Parker, JAG copy/managing editor

Sitting in the cockpit of a single prop plane with a look of concentration on her face, freshman Belle Bonn slowly pulls back on the yoke in order to execute the landing at Johnson County Executive Airport on Sunday, Jan. 21.

Unlike most people her age, Bonn has been flying airplanes since she was 11 years old. According to Bonn, flying is a unique hobby that is available for people of all ages.

“Flying is really different because not many people think about flying as something to do at a young age,” Bonn said. “You think of older people doing it, but really anybody can fly.”

Bonn developed an interest in flying because it helped her relax.

“Flying to me is a freedom and a stress reliever,” Bonn said.

When she completed her first flight nearly four years ago, Bonn felt amazed at what she accomplished.

“When I first went flying, I was younger and I didn’t get to actually fly the plane. I got to see everything, but I never got to control anything,” Bonn said. “When I first flew, it was breathtaking because I couldn’t believe I just did that.”

According to flight instructor Sarah Owens, flying requires students to retain a large array of knowledge.

“Flying is challenging because there is a lot of information you have to learn about aerodynamics, physics, airplanes, engine mechanics and flying maneuvers,” Owens said.

One challenge Bonn faced while learning to fly came with knowing what to do in the case of an in-flight emergency.

“It can be hard to know what to do if something were to happen or go wrong,” Bonn said. “There is always that sudden moment of panic, but then you calm down. If you stay stressed, everything will just get worse.”

Some of the unique opportunities flying provides Bonn with include participating in the “Pilots n Paws” rescue service program, which helps transport animals, and traveling to other airports nearby. Bonn hopes to use her flying skills in the future by joining the Air Force or flying commercially.

Having received several piloting and instructor licenses, Owens believes students like Bonn should fly because it pushes them to apply information that they learn in school.

“Students utilize lots of skills that they have learned in school, when learning to fly,” Owens said. “Students use math and science, without even knowing it. It’s also challenging and very rewarding when they learn something new.”

Flying allows Bonn to see the world from a vantage point that the majority of people do not get to experience.

“I like just being able to see everything from a different perspective,” Bonn said. “Most people just see things from the ground, but I can see from above and see what everybody else doesn’t normally get to see.”

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