Ten months after the small plane crash that nearly killed him, a Valley teen pilot is home from the hospital for good.
Brody Burnell boarded a long-awaited flight from Omaha to Phoenix on Wednesday. He's been recovering in hospitals miles from home since the crash last August.
On the Phoenix end of the flight, roughly 100 of Brody's family and friends waited. They chanted his name as he came up the ramp of the C gates in Terminal Four at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
Brody gave a humble smile as he quietly waved to his raucous fans.
This happy scene is just about as far as possible from the reality that quite literally came crashing down last August.
The plane Brody was flying with his friend, Chandler, suffered mechanical issues and smashed into a tree just after takeoff from the Deer Valley Airport.
Brody was pulled from the wreckage barely alive.
"Christmas was difficult. We had birthdays in ICU. But I keep telling people that's all over. I don't have to get that phone call ever again," said Steve Burnell, Brody's dad.
Brody's dad said his son was in a coma for the first three months after the crash.
Despite a traumatic brain injury, Steve said Brody has regained his sense of humor and wants to start taking online college classes. He's also one surgery away from being able to try walking again.