Kaden Hawk, now 20, said it all started when he was 6 years old with a flight to Las Vegas. Kaden said, “I was hooked, I loved the feeling of flight and after that trip that was it, I wanted to fly.” It started with video games, then moved to Styrofoam planes, RC helicopters, and drones. Kaden said, “My first helicopter ride at a Dodge dealership in Enid really sealed the need to fly”. 

Kaden’s first venture into remote-controlled aircraft was with a helicopter from the mall, but it lasted only a short time. He soon upgraded to several other RC planes, eventually moving on to drones.

After graduating from Hennessey High School in 2021, he tried college at NOC with a major in mathematics and physical science but quickly realized that was not the path for him. At about this same time, the airlines dropped the requirement for a college degree for pilots making the point of entry easier. 

Kaden took his first “Discovery Flight” in Kingfisher on July 5, 2021, where you get to fly the plane for the first time. After that flight, he decided to take the next step and get his pilot’s license. The 40 mandatory training hours were slow going due to the cost and limited availability of aircraft coupled with inclement weather.

Most of Kaden’s flight hours were logged in a Cessna 172 at Wrenn Aviation in Enid. Kaden said, “Taking breaks between lessons was hard, I couldn’t get the landings down. I came back after about 4 or 5 months with a new flight instructor and landed on the first try perfectly.” 

The next hurdle was the check ride to get a license. Kaden said, “You have to book in advance. It just kept raining and we had to reschedule 3 times. The test kept getting pushed back and I kept forgetting stuff. I had to learn everything, then wait 3 weeks. Did that 3 times and finally passed the test on May 30, 2023. This was by far the hardest thing I have ever done.”  

Now that he has his private pilot’s license, the next steps include getting his Instrument rating, Commercial, Multi-Engine, and becoming a CFI (Certified Flight Instructor).  The final step will be to obtain his “ATP” (Airline Transport license) which requires 1500 hours of flight time. To get these certifications, Kaden has enrolled in the ATP flight school in Oklahoma City where he will spend the next 7 months of college-like training. Kaden said, “They have a great cadet program that pairs you with airlines when you’re ready.” 

The overall goal for Kaden is to fly cargo for FedEx or UPS but would also be interested in passenger airlines as well. Meanwhile, Kaden is working for Chris Pribil’s farming operation this summer with hopes to be flying commercially by the age of 25.