Teen flying high after becoming Scotland’s youngest pilot
A SCOTS teenager is on cloud nine after gaining his private pilot licence at the tender age of 17.
Tom Hall is believed to be the youngest pilot in Scotland after gaining his licence earlier this month.
The Perth schoolboy has been flying since he was just 10 years old.
Tom has since flown across Scotland and hopes to become a commercial pilot in the future.
Tom took his first lesson at the age of ten
Gaining the Private Pilot Licence (PPL) means he can now undertake solo journeys an transport passengers in certain classes of aircraft.
Tom said: “It began when I was 10 years old and my parents brought a trial lesson at Tayside Aviation for my birthday. I really enjoyed it and decided then that I wanted to be a pilot.
“I had a lesson every so often but when I turned 14, I could officially start to log my hours towards my licence and this was the time I really began to take it seriously.
“I tried to have a flying lesson every month, although sometimes this was not always possible due to the weather conditions.”
Although not old enough to vote, Tom flew solo for the first time on his 16th birthday in December 2010.
Tom said: “I always dreamed of flying solo on my 16th birthday as this is the youngest possible age to achieve this.
“In December 2010, this dream was achieved and I managed to do my first solo flight without an instructor being in the aircraft. It was so exciting as it was the first time I was ‘pilot in command’
“I will always remember the weird feeling looking to my right and seeing that no one was there.
“As I taxied off the runway the controller congratulated me on my first solo. It felt amazing.”
In addition to the flying lessons, Tom, a sixth-year pupil at Perth High School, had to take several difficult exams before he could get his licence.
He said: “To gain my PPL I also had to pass seven written exams, covering a vast amount of subjects from air law and meteorology to human performance.
“These were very difficult exams, plus I also had the pressure of studying for my school exams at the same time.”
After spending January clocking up the solo hours needed to take his test Tom was ready to sit his skills test.
He said: “This is the part where I fly with an examiner and I am tested on everything I have learned. The flying test lasted for two hours 10 minutes and I was really tired by the end, but as soon as I was told that I’d passed, I was on cloud nine as I’d finally achieved what I’d always dreamed of.
“I hope to continue my training with Tayside Aviation and one day become a commercial pilot, but for now I need to start learning how to drive.”
A spokesman for Tayside Aviation said: “Tom is as keen as mustard and has been from the moment he came in here.
“He’s been a model pupil and we’re delighted for him.
“We can’t recall anyone younger doing this – 17 is a very, very good age to complete the licence.”
The UK’s youngest pilot is though to be Jack Dopson. The East Sussex teen gained his PPL in 2008 at the age of 16.
Britain’s youngest commercial pilot is Ed Gardner took control of a jumbo jet in 2007 at the age of just 19.
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