Thursday, July 28, 2016

Caden Urschel: 13-year-old from Arizona pilots Cessna Citation M2

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- If you're gonna tell 13-year-old Caden Urschel that flying is just for adults, you're a little late.

About four years too late.

Urschel is barely into the age of pimples and proms, but he already has roughly 200 hours of flight time in the cockpits of various airplanes and helicopters, thanks to his father, Scott Urschel, who is both a flight instructor and a commercial pilot.

And a new video of Caden behind the wheel of a Cessna Citation M2 jet -- his father at his side -- has gained the attention of the nation, going viral with over 18,000 views on YouTube alone.

In the video, the Chandler, Arizona, teen can be seen in the cockpit, wearing a headset and communicating with air traffic control as the jet races down the runway and he pulls the control wheel back, taking the jet into the sky. Later in the video, we see Caden guide the aircraft into a perfect landing, afterward giving his dad a high five. His father sits in the co-pilot seat and provides instruction.

"It’s a lot of fun," Caden told WDRB News by phone from an airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Thursday afternoon. "I'm just happy that I’m able to fly and have that experience – to fly with my dad."

For his part, Scott Urschel, Caden's father, says he's grateful for the time with his son as well.

"It’s pretty awesome to be able to talk your son down flying a $4 million jet down onto the runway for the first time," Scott said. "He made that landing all by himself, I just helped him with some of the speeds and the procedures."

"It's really amazing," Scott added. "Young people today -- a lot of them don’t have the opportunities that Caden do. I think that, pretty much any young person, they have such great, fine motor skills at that age. And if we expose them to aviation and aircraft…I think Caden is not any more exceptional than another 12-year-old that would have had four or five years of exposure to aviation like he has."

"Yes," Caden laughed. "Yeah, I was very surprised, because I’ve never had anything like that happen before."

Scott said he has posted a few videos of his son flying various aircraft -- but none got the attention that the video of Caden flying the Citation M2 jet did.

"For some reason, I think that the jet really had an impact in the aviation industry, and I think it just seemed so far reached for some folks that they were amazed that a 13-year-old boy could fly the airplane," Scott said.

Federal law means that Caden can't fly solo until he is 16 -- and Caden says that's just fine for now.

"I don't really feel like I'm ready yet, but I feel like I will be by the time I'm 16," he said. "I can't wait until I turn 16 to fly my solo."

"My favorite part is, when you're flying, and looking down above everything else," he added. "It just, like, gives me the feeling that I have more…there's more to see in the world. I have more freedom."

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