March 14, 2013 - The fact that Dan Fredrickson, EAA 1029515, and his twin brother Josh, EAA 1029516, passed their checkrides when they turned 17 years old is not all that unusual; aspiring young aviators frequently aim for that first eligible date when training to become a pilot.
What makes Dan and Josh's situation unique is that they are "leaplings" - born on February 29, 1996 - which means they have only celebrated four actual birthdays in their 17 years. And since their legal birthdate did not occur this year, the Fredrickson twins from Pella, Iowa, did their checkrides on the first eligible date, which was March 1.
The brothers also soloed on March 1 last year - the first date they were eligible to do so - and they're both EAA Young Eagles. Dan and Josh completed all their training at Classic Aviation Inc., Pella Municipal Airport's FBO, with primary instructor Larry Vande Voort, EAA 473186. They've been in flight training since they were 13 years old.
Vande Voort worked with the boys this summer to complete their tailwheel endorsement in Classic Aviation's Citabria. Dan and Josh have received instruction in several other airplanes, including complex and high-performance aircraft. The Pella Christian High School juniors have worked part time at Classic Aviation for the past two years and both indicate a desire to pursue aviation careers.
They've been asked a number of times who took his checkride first, and the answer is simple: Josh, because Dan had flown first during the last lesson before the checkride, and they take turns.
Would they recommend flight training to other high school students?
"I would tell them to go for it," said Dan, whose aviation hero is Bob Hoover. "Hard work pays off and in the end it's very satisfying."
Josh added, "Flying is just about the best thing that has happened to me, so I would recommend it to other students." Josh's hero in flight is Chuck Yeager.
They are the sons of David and Lori Fredrickson, EAA 1029512, and grandsons to Jim and Ann Fredrickson and Bill and Ann Burns. Classic Aviation Inc. is owned and operated by Shane Vande Voort, EAA 549889.