Gregory’s 14-Year-Old Jacob Broesamle Becomes Youngest Glider Pilot in the U.S.


Jacob Broesamle and mentor Safu Nana. Photo by Doug Marrin.

In an extraordinary accomplishment that has set him soaring above the rest, 14-year-old Jacob Broesamle soloed on August 1st, his 14th birthday, making him one of the youngest to do so in the U.S.

With the minimum age for soloing being 14, Jacob anxiously awaited this special day. A crowd filled with excitement and nerves gathered at Richmond Field on Doyle Rd. near Gregory to witness the historic moment.

Jennifer Broesamle, Jacob's mother, teared up with pride and nerves. "I know it's him up there, and I'm happy, but it's hard not to cry. I'm always nervous when he’s flying," she said.

Jacob’s glider is towed into the air. Photo by Doug Marrin.

Living just five miles from the airfield, Jacob grew up watching gliders flying over their house. The family's connection with the sport runs deep, ignited by Jacob's first experience in a glider when he met and helped Safu Nana move an ATV. Safu is a member of the Sandhill Soaring Club out of Richmond Field. He offered Jacob a flight. That day, Jacob was hooked, expressing, "I love it. I ride my bike out here almost every weekend to fly. It's a good way to stay calm up there."

After completing 59 instructional flights, Jacob’s day to solo finally arrived on his birthday. He first completed a successful preliminary flight with an instructor. Then, it was Jacob's turn to fly alone. The retired crop duster throttled up and pulled him into the air, where he soared for about twenty minutes before landing gracefully. His joy was palpable as he burst out of the cockpit, exclaiming, "I want to do it again!"

Jacob receives the traditional bucket of water upon a successful solo. Photo by Bert Broesamle.

Jacob's passion for flying doesn't stop at gliding. His other hobbies include radio-controlled planes and trucks, magnetic fishing, riding bicycles, photography, and aircraft spotting with his telescope. Jacob also has ambitions of joining the Air Force or becoming a commercial pilot. He is a member of the Civil Air Patrol Wing 655 out of Ann Arbor, a multifaceted program where participants build rockets, do cyber security, assist with downed aircraft, and contribute to emergency services like disaster relief response.

Whether in the air or on the ground, Jacob's dedication and love for flying are evident. His journey from riding his bike down the road to soaring in the skies is an inspiration, a remarkable young man destined for great heights.

Richmond Field is home to the Sandhill Soaring Club whose gliders can be seen in the skies most weekends. Photo by Doug Marrin.
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