COURTESY TABISOLA FAMILY
The family of missing pilot Joshua Tabisola, shown in this undated photo, plans to have a public memorial.
Missing pilot's dream was to fly
Joshua Tabisola's Cessna disappeared Thursday night
FROM the time he took his first airplane ride when he was just 4 months old, Joshua Tabisola was destined to become a pilot, say his parents, Edward and Fran Tabisola.
Twenty-five years later he was living his dream, flying airplanes and teaching others to fly as an instructor for Anderson Aviation in Honolulu, the Tabisolas said last night.
That dream ended Thursday when his single-engine Cessna 177B dropped out of the sky in waters off Molokai's Kalaupapa Peninsula.
Tabisola, 25, was training a student in a commercial pilot course. Officials believe the Cessna was headed for Hana when it dropped off the radar at 8:54 p.m. Anderson has yet to release the student's name.
The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search Saturday after finding no sign of the missing airplane. National Transportation Safety Board investigator Nicole Charnon said an underwater search is unlikely. And even if the aircraft is located, there probably will not be an attempt to recover it because the plane is believed to have gone down in waters about 300 feet deep.
"I highly doubt that's going to happen," she said.
COURTESY TABISOLA FAMILY
Pilot Joshua Tabisola was one of two people aboard a single-engine Cessna that went missing off Molokai on Thursday night.
Charnon said the Maui Fire Department has been checking to see if any sign of the aircraft washes ashore. Tabisola's parents said it would be nice to recover their son's body, but they said the body is just a shell.
Since his plane went down, his parents said the family had sought to grieve privately. But they said they plan to have a public memorial because they said that is how their son was.
"His spirit is always with us," said Edward Tabisola.
And with extended family gathering to offer each other emotional support, they find comfort trading stories about Joshua Tabisola's humor.
"He's given us so much laughter, so that carries us," said Marci Bogusz, Tabisola's aunt.
From the time he was just an infant, pilots would pick up Joshua and take him into the cockpit, his mother said. Over the years, Tabisola collected pilot wings and talked about flying.
"He never questioned what he wanted to be," said mother Fran -- except for the time he talked about wanting to be a clown and go to clown college.
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Joshua Tabisola's mother, Fran, left; father, Edward; and sister, Gina, spoke about the missing pilot yesterday in their Waipahu home.
Tabisola graduated from Saint Louis School in 1999 where he lettered in football and wrestling and was an honors student. After graduation he went to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Arizona where he got his Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace science in 2003.
Younger sister Gina said she was proud of her big brother.
"I bragged about him all the time," she said.
After an internship for Continental Express in Houston, Anderson Aviation hired him in May 2004 as an instructor, which he did part time. He also had a job as a chief scheduler for Aloha Airlines.
It was her son's dream to eventually pilot the big planes, Fran Tabisola said, but he also enjoyed teaching. And since both of his parents are educators, he asked them for advice on instructing his students. His father teaches physical education at Nanakuli High and Intermediate, and his mother teaches fifth grade at Pearl City Elementary.
"He'd ask, 'How do I make it easier for them?'" Fran Tabisola said.