Sky’s the limit! Meet the 14-year-old who’s realised his glider pilot dream
- Credit: TIM JONES
He may not be old enough to take his driving test or buy a lottery ticket - but this 14-year-old from Sudbury is already on cloud nine after realising his dream of becoming a qualified glider pilot.
Isaac Jones, who goes to the Thomas Gainsborough School in Great Cornard, completed his first solo flight at the Essex and Suffolk Gliding Club in Wormingford on Sunday.
The teenager, who has always dreamt of becoming a pilot, joined the club in July last year after attending an open day and has since had 74 lessons learning the craft.
Isaac turned 14 in February – the minimum age to solo a glider – and was hoping to get his qualification earlier this year.
However, the coronavirus pandemic meant Isaac was forced to stop flying for more than five months, putting his lessons and his dream on hold.
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As soon as flying recommenced in July, the teenager picked up where he left off - getting back in the driver’s seat and preparing to fly solo, practising everything he had learnt over the past 12 months.
On Sunday he took his 75th flight – but this time he was completely solo.
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Now he is a qualified glider pilot and will be taking to the sky by himself in the future, hoping to progress to get his bronze qualification which will allow him to fly further afield and across the country.
His mum Rachel said Isaac is “really proud of himself” and despite being nervous before the launch, he is pleased to have completed his first solo flight and to have secured his qualification.
“I was really nervous watching him up there, it felt like the flight went on for hours,” said Rachel, who spends 10 hour days up at the airfield supporting her son with her husband Tim.
“He was flying for a good 10/15 minutes and he told us he was speaking all the instructions which he had been taught out loud to make sure he didn’t do anything wrong.
“We are all very proud of him.”
Isaac’s flying instructor was Mark Butcher, who Rachel said was “amazing” and supported her son from the very beginning.
The youngster’s dream is to have a career as a pilot, but Rachel said they will have to “wait and see” following the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the industry.