By David Helms/Pontotoc Progress
PONTOTOC – If you’re a little nervous about your 16-year-old asking for the keys to the car, try trading places with Brassfield Road residents Glen and Stephanie Inmon.
Their son, Barron, 16, is asking for the keys to the family plane.
On April 29, Barron celebrated his 16th birthday by successfully completing his first solo flight and earning his student airplane pilot’s license.
Barron’s now licensed to take the family’s two-seater, singleengine Aviat Husky airplane up for a spin all by himself.
“You have to be 16 to solo, so I did it on my birthday,” said Barron, who will be a junior at Pontotoc High School this fall.
“I can’t carry a passenger with me until I get my private pilot license when I turn 17 years old,” he said.
CHIP OFF THE BLOCK
Barron is following in the footsteps of his father and his grandfather, Marlin Inmon, who are both pilots.
Barron completed his solo flight at the Pontotoc County Airport, with at least 40 family members and friends cheering him on.
“The worst part was the anticipation, the waiting for my birthday to finally get here,” said Barron, who has two younger brothers, Reed, 13, and Hayden, 12.
“Plus, they had a party for me and by the time I soloed there was at least 40 people out there watching and if I messed up they were there to tell,” he said. “I really wasn’t nervous, my mom was more nervous than I was.”
His mom won’t argue Barron’s assessment of that afternoon.
Stephanie said it was a “different deal” when Barron was suddenly the only one in the plane.
“Glen and Barron had made a couple of rounds in the plane and I did good until the part where Glen got out of the plane so Barron could solo,” Stephanie recalled. “When Glen got out and left him on the runway with the engine running, I got nervous. But Glen said he was ready and I trusted him.”
Another nervous onlooker was Barron’s grandmother, Billie Inmon, who at first said she wasn’t coming out for the solo flight.
Barron politely told his grandmother
“I told her I wanted her to be out there and be proud of me for doing this,” Barron said.
April 29 wasn’t the first time that Billie Inmon has watched a loved one take off in an airplane. Her husband Marlin started flying in 1963, the year they were wed. Glen learned to fly from his dad and the late Clem Henry, another Pontotoc pilot.
Glen’s been flying for 25 years, including the past 20 years as a private pilot for Hill Brothers Construction Company. “We were so young when Marlin started flying, I guess I didn’t have enough sense back then to be worried,” Billie said.
But it was different that April Sunday afternoon watching her grandson taxi down the runway. “I didn’t want to watch that day, but after he made his first landing, he came right in like he’d been flying all his life,” Billie said. “He didn’t bounce even once. Once he made that first touch-down I was ready to watch the other two.”
Barron actually got his pilot’s license two days before he got his driver’s license.
“I soloed on a Sunday, but Monday was a holiday so I had to wait until Tuesday to go get my driver’s license,” Barron said.
Barron got his love for flying from his dad, who’s logged more than 11,000 flight hours flying for Hill Brothers.
“And I got my love for flying from my dad,” said Glen.“Daddy loved airplanes and we’d go hang out at the airport. Daddy wanted to be a crop duster, but mama put her foot down and didn’t want him doing that.
Glen said he would love to see Barron and his other sons fly for a living, but the choice is theirs.
“I’ll support them in whatever they want to be,” he said, “but if they want to be pilots that would be great, cause I think there’s going to be some great opportunities in that field over the next few years.
Glen said there’s no better feeling than flying.
“That plane’s going down the runway and it feels like a dragster and then you climb to 25,000 feet, going 300 knots – nothing else like it,” he said. “On a beautiful day like today, these guys are paying me to fly and I’d do it for free.”