David Tumbarello had to fly solo in a single-engine Cessna 172 to earn his pilot’s license. His 16-year-old daughter helped him cross the finish line by doing it first.
Angel and David, admittedly competitive, are students at Moses Aviation, based in Uvalde, in the flight training program for the private pilot license. A solo flight, without instructors or companions, is the first stage of the program.
“I’m very lucky to do this with Angel. She’s the best driver,” laughed David.
“She pushes me to be better. I know when I started I was very nervous. I don’t know, but I really doubt I would have continued. I don’t know if I would have done it without her,” he said. On Dec. 1, the father-daughter combo both accomplished the task, and Moses Aviation owners Annie and Henry Moses say it’s the first time in their history that a father and daughter have flown their flights in alone the same day.
“Henry and I have been flying for over 65 years combined and neither of us remember hearing or reading about this combination,” Annie said.
“First of all, a 16-year-old girl is a big deal,” Henry added. “But a 16-year-old girl and her dad – on the same day – we can’t find anything,” Henry said. hinting that it may be primarily an aviation history.
Getting a pilot’s license is something David, a graduate of Uvalde High School’s Class of 1992, said he always wanted to do. And with Angel being a homeschooler, flight school seemed like a good addition to her schedule and a way to do it together.
Alex Bosse, chief flight instructor at Moses, who has been teaching the Tumbarellos since the program began in late August, said to become a pilot, Angel had to use both math and science.
“Wait till you do some planning across the country,” Bosse smiled, addressing Angel. “There’s a lot of math.”
Angel says that, even though she was nervous, she knew doing this was an accomplishment.
“I just wanted to land and be alive,” she said.
David watched Angel take off from the runway, where he said he “didn’t run, but walked quickly” once he saw Bosse finally exit the cockpit and Angel began to take off.
“Maybe I could help, just in case,” David said, explaining the heaviness of seeing his daughter go out alone.
“When she landed, I thought, ‘Maybe I can do that too. And I did,” David said.
Although the family has Uvalde roots, they currently live in Lake Hills and own Christian’s Furniture in Hondo.
Angel has two brothers, one of whom she says is jealous of her theft program, and the other she says wants nothing to do with it.
David says he and his wife have always tried to push their children to do their best and have the confidence to succeed.
Besides learning to fly and being a student, Angel has her own online business.
She says she is still thinking about her future plans, but she will definitely continue her flight school with her father and get her pilot’s license.
Moses Aviation has been in business in Uvalde since 2012 and offers the only pilot training program west of San Antonio.
Part of their services include a “discovery flight” which, for $99, gives people interested in flying a chance to check it out. Bosse accompanies prospective students on an approximately half-hour flight around the area. For more information, 830-494-5882.
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