Needham Market: 14-year-old Jordan Dean becomes one of Britain’s youngest ever solo gliders
12:00 19 November 2012
A 14-YEAR-OLD boy has become one of Britain’s youngest ever solo gliders thanks to a change in the law.
Just days ago the country changed its age limit for solo flights from 16 to 14, falling in line with much of the rest of Europe.
And Jordan Dean, from Needham Market, has become one of the first 14-year-olds in the country to take to the air on his own when he had his maiden unaccompanied mission at Wattisham Airfield.
The teenager’s father James Dean and grandfather Gwyn Thomas are keen gliders and former instructors.
Following many flights with them since an early age Jordan, who has a younger brother Luke, six, had been keen to get up in the sky on his own.
He said: “I have been flying forever - it’s something that I really enjoy and it’s a fun hobby to have.
“It did cross my mind that it was all down to me when I did my first solo flight, but I just got on with it. It was fun with no nagging instructor in the back. It was quite an experience.” The Stowmarket High School pupil, a member of the Anglian Gliding Club at Wattisham, said he had been trying to convince his friends to join him for a flight but they were not very enthusiastic and had been put off by the cost.
He added: “Money-wise, it can be a little expensive but considering what I’m doing it’s relatively cheap compared to powered flying.
“And I’m one of the first 14-year-olds to take a solo flight, which is cool.
“My plan is to keep flying and eventually pilot a single seat aircraft - they tend to fly a little bit longer and are a bit nicer to fly.”
Jordan’s father James is a former instructor at Wattisham and stills works at the base in the Integrated Logistics Operation Centre (ILOC) providing logistic support for the WAH-64 attack helicopter force in peacetime and operations, including Afghanistan.
He said: “I started when I was his age and I went solo on my 16th birthday. Since then I have become an instructor and then chief instructor at Anglia Gliding Club. He’s been flying over the last few years but the legal age of doing this in the UK has been 16 and they recently changed the rules and the new regulations came in, putting us in line with the rest of the EU.”
He said Jordan’s flight was certainly a first for Wattisham and possible for the UK.