Mt. Pleasant girl finds her future in the clouds

It was love at first sight for Emma Hubble.

The mid-Michigan girl was just 12 when she first saw a private plane up close, but she immediately knew her head belonged in the clouds.

Mt. Pleasant’s Emma Hubble, 16, is on her way toward earning her pilot’s license.
“I love everything about flying,” Hubble says, now 16 years old. “Right now, I’m getting my pilot’s license as a hobby. But I’d like to be a certified flight instructor someday and help others make their dreams come true, too.”

Her love of airplanes has been nurtured over the years by the volunteers who are members of Mt. Pleasant’s Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 907. In addition to EAA members sharing their own passion for flying, the group offers several programs to foster youth aviation education.

Every summer, the chapter’s Young Eagles program gives free general aviation airplane rides to 50-60 young people ages 8-17. To date, the local chapter has flown more than 1,000 local youngsters at Mt. Pleasant Municipal Airport.

Chapter 907 also offers a Chapter Youth Group Workshop where kids ages 12-17 like Hubble have the chance to gain hands-on experience in building and restoring aircraft, piloting, and other opportunities in the aviation industry.

The Young Eagles are nearly finished assembling a Hummel H5 aircraft at Mt. Pleasant Municipal Airport.
Hubble joined the Young Eagles at age 12 not long after seeing her first private plane and rarely missed a Saturday morning session at Mt. Pleasant Municipal Airport with up to a dozen other youth. Those group workshop sessions where the kids were assembling a Hummel H5 aircraft were suspended two years ago when the COVID-19 pandemic began but are now gearing up again.

Hubble enjoyed the lessons so much that she wants to be an airplane mechanic, either as a hobby or a career.

“I like hands-on stuff and once I started working with the airplanes, I thought it would be something I’d like to do in the future,” she says. “My dad was a diesel mechanic, so I’ve had a little bit of help along the way while I’ve grown up.”

But her heart is in a cockpit.

Her parents, Jen and Chris Hubble, have supported her dream with flying lessons through the years. She’s now well on her way to a pilot’s license.

“I remember my first Young Eagles flight with Al Davis … we were just up there for 10 minutes and then came back down … but it was just so awesome,” she says.

Chapter 907 volunteers like Davis, Butch and Maggie Ballauer, and Joan and Jimmy Fleishman have nurtured that love of flying for Hubble and hundreds of other young people, said Jen Hubble, Emma’s mother.

“The people who are the mentors in this program are exceptional individuals,” Jen Hubble says. “And they don’t care if you know nothing about planes. They just love to see kids flourish.”

Aspiring mid-Michigan pilots, or their parents, can contact Butch Ballauer at (989) 561-5266 or by e-mail at waleball@power-net.net.