Gravette teen sets high-in-the-sky goal with flying lessons
GRAVETTE — Flying a plane has been a dream of Dane Hilger, now a junior at Gravette High School, since he was in the seventh grade. And he is well on his way to realizing that dream.
Dane’s grandmother, Marsha Heiser, who lives in Prescott, Kan., has a good friend who is a retired airline pilot and a flight instructor. This connected Dane with Clarence Easley of Pleasanton, Kan., and Easley has been giving Dane lessons since Dane turned 13.
Easley describes Dane as a quiet young man but said he has an amazing ability when it comes to learning the things he needs to know to fly.
“Dane is a very ambitious young man with an uncanny desire to become a pilot,” Easley said. “I have given him approximately eight hours of flight training, and he does a superb job of controlling the aircraft.”
Dane has been learning to fly in a 1946 Piper J-3 Cub. Piper Cubs were originally designed as training aircraft (built from 1937 to 1947) and are still a favorite for flight-training purposes.
Easley said of Hilger: “He is one of the sharpest young men I have ever had the privilege to be with in an airplane.”
And, with a little more training, Hilger is likely not only to go far but to reach new heights.
Dane is the son of Jeremiah and Robin Hilger of Gravette.
Dane Hilger, a student at Gravette High School, sits in the seat of a training aircraft, a 1946 Piper J-3, in August. Hilger realized a dream of his and learned to fly in the plane.