16-year-old solos 10 airplanes in one day, sets world record

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – Nathan “Nate” Bruss turned 16 years old on Friday, August 16. He celebrated by soloing 10 different aircraft from Flying Cloud Airport. “The day went great,” said Nate Bruss via email. “The wind picked up towards the afternoon and I had a 5 kt crosswind component, but it was within my personal limitations.”

Nate started the day with three take-offs and full stop landings in a Cessna 152. The remaining flights consisted of one take-off and one landing per plane. In total, Nate logged 4.5 solo hours in two Cessna 152s, one Cessna 162 Skycatcher, five Cessna 172s and two Piper PA-28-161 Warriors.

Nate Bruss after the first of ten aircraft soloed on his 16th birthday.

Nate Bruss after the first of ten aircraft soloed on his 16th birthday.

“I did two go arounds throughout the day because of the wind and I had radio problems on one of the 172’s that I fixed on downwind,” continued Nate. “Other than that, everything went very smoothly.”

“Nate showed incredible determination throughout his flight training,” said Steve Bruss, Nate’s father, flight instructor and owner of Wings Insurance. “Most student pilots only solo one airplane.”

In addition to launching his flying career, in earnest, Nate set a Guinness World Record for “The Most Tricycle Geared Airplanes Soloed on the Same Day.”

“Now that I have soloed, I will finish my private pilot requirements by the end of the month and begin work on my instrument rating, tailwheel endorsement, seaplane rating and Sailplane License,” noted Nate. “I have also begun planning for the next record.”

Nate finished the day with a ride in a Beechcraft T-34 Mentor. Nate flew the T-34 over Flying Cloud Airport, making two overhead passes with the smoke on. After landing, the entire group celebrated the day and his birthday with cake and congratulations.


  1. Doug J says

    It’s great he loves flying, and did that. I was 29 when I soloed, after 9.5 hrs flight time. I’m now P.A.S.E.L. I don’t wish to be negative, but flying the same type aircraft, doesn’t seem a big deal. It took me 3 yrs to get Private, due to financial reasons, not skill. If I had the $$, I could have done twice that in one day, that’s not demonstrating extra skill. Try flying 10 different TYPES (or models, maybe) of aircraft in one day, and that might mean something

    • David Vancina says

      The record books (and history, for that matter) are filled with stuff a lot of people could have done, but that few actually do. Wish I’d have been this ambitious when I was young!

  2. says

    The negative comments are disturbing. A sign of the times I guess. Not to long ago this story would be met only with congratulations and accolades, and this is mostly so. But now the ugly specter of “class envy” and just plain jealousy is creeping in. The young man acheived this on his own. You pilots know that the work for this MUST be done, nothing is given to you as far as certificates and ratings. I is a great equalizer wether you are a corporate CEO, or a high school student. So lets hold up our aviation achievers as positive examples and not follow the “crowd” as of late and try to tear them down.

  3. Edd Weninger says

    Good job Nate! I also soloed on my 16th birthday, so I also know what it means.

    I only flew 2 planes that day. One was a 7AC Airknocker, that I was lucky enough to learn in, and the other a Tri-Pacer.

    So the challenge to you is to get some tail-dragger time. You’ll never regret it.

  4. Ryan says

    To all the negative comments… Can’t everyone just recognize an amazing effort by a 16 year old that has set a goal, worked hard, earned his own money to achieve that goal. For all fellow pilots out there…. If given a similar opportunity who wouldn’t have taken it?

  5. Joel H. says

    Very proud of Nate for doing this! It shows how focused you are as well as your maturity level. I am a friend of Nate and had been hearing about this idea for about two years now. He started his own business three years ago and has been saving up for this. This is not simply a move for attention by Nate, he has good morals and wasn’t handed money to go and do this. He set a goal for himself years ago and did everything he could to make it happen. Hard work pays off! Great job again Nate!

  6. C Smith says

    Big deal. There are plenty of us who soloed on our 16th birthday but didn’t see the need to rent every plane in the fleet or do anything else in an attempt to draw attention ourselves.

  7. RAY Winslow says

    Very good!
    Who paid for this?
    I only went solo in one airplane, but I paid every dime required at minimum wage at 16.

    • says

      Agreed great job by Nate. I too however, hope that his personality allows him to realize how lucky he is to be allowed into all those aircraft. Too many times those born into a “flying” family do not appreciate the massive head start they have compared to those who must do it on their own. I hope he will pass on some of his good fortune to someone he meets that is struggling with the logistics and cost of learning to fly.

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