Autistic Teenager Uses Flight to Conquer His Fears

Henry Co, Va-- A teenage boy on the Southside got an opportunity of a lifetime last week. He flew 3,000 feet in the air.

For 13-year-old Jacob Fretwell, it was extra special because he had to conquer a big fear to do it.

This was a milestone for Jacob because he has autism. Autistic kids are usually very frightened by heights and loud noises, but Jacob didn't let anything hold him back from soaring to great heights.

Jacob has been part of the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program for about a month now.

"Jacob has always been interested in military stuff," said Ed Gallop, Jacob's step-father. "I've talked to him a lot over the years about flying."

The program teaches young people about aerospace, and for the first time ever, Jacob was able to learn lessons way up in the sky. It's something that Jacob always dreamed of, but never thought it could be possible. He says the experience was incredible.

"It feels like going in a car, but going in a truck, said Jacob." "I didn't realize I was over 2000 feet, then I realized everything looks small."

Gallop said this was a huge deal for Jacob.

"I think it was a milestone, " said Gallop. "He does have autism. A lot of autistic kids have fears of confined spaces, loud noises especially, but Jacob doesn't let his fears control him."

"I knew I was in a plane with a professional, and everything looked okay," said Jacob. "They need to think about, is it dangerous or not, they could look down, but they're not falling."

"He inspires me," said Gallop. "If he has a fear he examines what it is he's afraid of to determine if something that he really needs to be scared of."

Jacob said he definitely wants to get up in the air and fly again. He also said he wants to design gliders when he gets older.