Hatchet seniors complete first successful solo flights at Tomahawk Airport
By Jed Buelow
Tomahawk Leader Co-Editor, Sports, Nature Editor
Hatchet seniors Haley Marvin and Haile Larch will have a pretty cool story to share with their classmates of what they did over the summer break when school begins at the end of the month.
You might say the sky is no longer the limit for either of them.
Not only did the two 17-year-olds learn to fly, they completed their first solo missions at Tomahawk Regional Airport on Aug. 1. That’s right, roughly a year after receiving their driving licenses, Haley and Haile took to the air and frankly made it look as easy as learning to ride a bike.
Haley was the first to accomplish the feat, as she lifted into the air with her flight-instructor dad, Shawn Marvin, and disappeared off into the blue. A short time later she was back touching down on the grass airstrip before going air bound again to take another loop. After the third such maneuver, Shawn radioed Haley to stop the plane and he got out.
Watching from the ground, this is about when this reporter’s heart really began to pound. As Shawn stepped away from the plane, Haley did not hesitate to throttle up. And just like that, she was gone once again, this time taking flight on her own.
Haley’s grandfather Ray Marvin and her dad laughed when she took it up again after completing the required three solo take offs and landings. Ray said she was born with flying in her blood, recalling a younger Haley who went to the EAA in Oshkosh and didn’t want to leave even after the air show had come to an end.
“I told her everyone would be leaving Sunday, but she still wanted to stay till Monday,” he said in adding it wasn’t a surprise to see his granddaughter take the extra loop. “She would stay up there all day if she could.”
Seeing how Haley took to the air probably wasn’t as big of a surprise to some in attendance, as the Marvin family takes to the air like fish take to water. Ray, he’s got a pilot license. Dad and his sister, they are pilots, too.
“I thought I was going to be a little more nervous ,” Haley said upon completing her first solo flight in a 1946 Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser. “I just wasn’t really expecting it.”
Ray admitted he hadn’t slept the entire night prior due to the excitement he had for Haley and Haile on taking their first solo flights. That’s part of the reason the new pilots are not told in advance of when their first solo mission will be.
When it came time for Haile to take her first solo flight, flight instructor Marvin repeated the same process he had done with his daughter earlier in the day, three up and downs with him in the cockpit, and then just like that, Haile was drifting off into the great blue yonder alone on her first ever solo flight.
Upon and down, up and down, the process was repeated three times before Haile came stepping out of the 1956 Cessna 172.
“That was really amazing,” Haile said. “It was exciting. I was just surprised it happened in the middle of a lesson.”
While Haley said she has been hooked on flying as long as she can remember, Haile said her passion to fly came after taking a flight with her mother’s friend, Dee Dreger.
Now Haile and Haley are planning on pursuing mechanic and pilot careers upon graduation. Ray added right now there are a lot of nice paying jobs in the aviation field and encouraged other youngsters to consider pursuing it as a career – in some cases the pay is even better than a doctor and much less schooling is required, he added.
Prior to taking their first solo flights, Haley and Haile completed training in the classroom as well as additional time in the air with an instructor. Almost every week, twice a week they would meet at the Tomahawk airport where flight instruction would be taught leading up to the big solo day.
You might say the sky is no longer the limit for Haile and Haley. They sure do have one heck of an impressive story to share with their fellow classmates when they return for the senior year at Tomahawk High School.