Monday, September 27, 2021

Weir: Highland Village teen preparing to fly the friendly skies

Jake Lee “Lucky” Nelson

Have you ever dreamed about reaching a goal, but doubted your ability to obtain it? When we’re very young and considering what the future holds for us, we may abandon some of our dreams as too whimsical, or too unrealistic. Moreover, we may be dissuaded from pursuing our passion by well-meaning relatives and friends who tell us how difficult such goals would be to achieve. Yet, if you have faith in yourself and you work hard at your goals, not only are you likely to achieve them, but you’ll have learned a valuable lesson about your own tenacity. That lesson will remain with you for life. One of my favorite quotes is from the famous British poet and playwright, Robert Browning, who wrote, “Man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”

A young Highland Village man is moving in the direction of a marvelous goal! Jake Lee “Lucky” Nelson is a 16-year-old with a passion to become a commercial pilot. His mom, Brooklyn Nelson, says Lucky has known since he was 3 that he would one day soar through the heavens in the cockpit of an airplane. Ms. Nelson said Lucky began taking lessons with Monarch Air in Addison in the summer of 2019. He was flying most weekends throughout his freshman year in 2019-2020. During 2020, in the first weeks of social-distancing and lockdowns, Lucky had the night skies to himself and few multiple night flights. Last June, he successfully accomplished his first solo flight on his 16th birthday.

“He continues with perseverance, along with his faith in God and the love and support of his family (my husband, myself, two sisters and grandparents), and with his mentors (Captain Connor Denton and Check Pilot Mitch Bell, retired marine pilot for American Airlines),” Ms. Nelson said. “He is currently studying for his 3 hour, 60 question, written exam for his private pilot’s license,” she added. Lucky’s mom went on to say, “Throughout this entire year he has never become discouraged by the restrictions of having to wear a mask while flying with his instructor or during school. He continued and continues to humbly move forward knowing that he walks with God every step of the way. He can tell you every plane in the sky at any given moment and speaks with a knowledge and language that only pilots thoroughly understand. In the summer of 2018, he was one of 20 individuals chosen to attend South Eastern Oklahoma States Aviation summer camp called ‘Take Flight’ for a week at their campus.

“Last month, Lucky was plane spotting with his dad at DFW airport during a huge, once every 10 years or so windstorm. So severe, that the landing configuration had to be changed which allowed better visibility and access for capturing landings, however more difficult for pilots to land.  Many diverted to other cities, aborted landings, and/or did go-arounds. One particular flight coming in from London was an American Airlines 777. Our son was listening to ATC and overheard the Captain tell ATC that it was his FO’s (First Officer’s First 777 landing) upon landing.

“After hearing this, Lucky Reviewed the photos that he had just taken, and being the only individual with a camera at the time, knew he had captured that FO’s 1st 777 landing.  It became his mission to find that particular FO and get him the picture of his first landing. He posted the picture along with the date and flight information on Twitter.  I did the same through Facebook and on NextDoor. Within 2 days, an individual of that flight crew saw his Twitter post and shared the photo with the entire crew. The crew member then responded to Lucky, obtained his contact information, and put the FO in-touch with Lucky so that he was able to give the FO a picture of his perfect 1st landing in a 777, considering the conditions and after such a long 10-hour flight from London.  A completely kind and selfless act; one pilot to another. As parents, it’s a beautiful thing to witness. He is not only my son, but my hero.”

Bob Weir
Bob Weir is a former NYPD officer, long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor.

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