BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET)- 16-year-old Joshua Shepard is aiming high, literally. He just completed his first solo flight, now allowing him to fly by himself, whenever.
For the driven teen, it wasn’t an easy road, but one that’s rewarding. Shepard says it was a lot of studying and no late nights with friends, but he’s excited to finally be flying the plane solo.
Flying isn’t new to his family. His grandparents were avid pilots and Josh knew he wanted to follow in their footsteps. Josh first went up in the air with his grandpa when he was seven, and since then he has wanted to become a pilot. Josh even flies his grandma’s plane, which she still uses to fly! A tradition kept alive in the family. And another unique tradition, Josh had his shirt cut off upon completion of his solo flight. It dates back to when planes used to have seats behind one another. The instructor would tug on the back of your shirt to get your attention. Now, having your shirt cut off symbolizes you’re alone in the plane.
So next time you look up in the sky and see a plane, that might be the 16-year-old following his dreams. Josh can only fly alone until he turns 17. That’s when he can get another license that allows him to have passengers.