Wild at Heart!
While most junior high school teenagers are playing on the basketball team or trying out for soccer, Mitch Wild had his eyes on the skies! At the early age of just 13, Mitch began logging hours in a Cessna 150. His father, Michael Wild, would take Mitch flying in and out of Glenndale Airport (8i3), a tiny grass strip located just south of Kokomo, Indiana. A few year later, Mitch would watch his father in awe as he would practice loops and barrel rolls. Mitch knew immediately what he wanted to do. He wanted to learn. At the age of 16, Mitch soloed in his father’s Super Decathlon.
Taking time off to complete high school and to pursue his aeronautical engineering degree at Purdue University, he decided to wait until he was 21 to obtain his private pilots license. Upon doing so, learning aerobatics shortly followed. His first competition was held in Marysville, Ohio, placing third in the Sportsman category in 2012. This was also the year that aerobatic greats Rob Holland and Bill Stein began practicing new maneuvers and routines in Kokomo. Mitch had no problem fitting right in. One year later, 4-time National Champion, Rob Holland, began coaching Mitch. When asked the best advice he has received from his coach, Mitch didn’t hesitate. “You know how Rob Holland’s motto is ‘Just Fly It?’ That’s what he tells me to do. ‘Just Fly It! Just fly the airplane!’ so that’s what I do.” And so far, that advice has worked well for him.
Last year, Mitch competed in the U.S. Nationals, held in Texas. He placed 4th overall in the Intermediate category. “It takes dedication and hard work. A lot of practice goes into the final product,” says Wild. What’s next for Mitch Wild? More practicing, perfecting every maneuver as he prepares to compete in the Advanced division against some of the best in the nation at this years National competition, hopefully earning a spot on the 2015 U.S. National Team. From the little town of Kokomo, comes that 13-year old with stars in his eyes.
“Just fly it… just fly the airplane!” Mitch Wild does just that.
Story by Stephanie Othersen