James, 14, enjoys first flight as solo glider

James Kirby, 14, with his gliding instructor Geoff Clark, at Daedalus Airfield, at the Portsmouth Naval Gliding Centre.
James Kirby, 14, with his gliding instructor Geoff Clark, at Daedalus Airfield, at the Portsmouth Naval Gliding Centre.

Dr Who Christmas special... All we know so far

0
Have your say

JAMES Kirby is one of the youngest people in the country to have made a solo glider flight.

James, 14, from Lee-on-the-Solent, took to the skies for his first solo glider flight earlier this month.

He joins only a handful of other young people around the country who have done this, after the minimum age to fly solo was reduced from 16 years old to 14 years old, bringing the UK in line with the rest of Europe.

His first flight took place at Daedalus airfield, at the Portsmouth Naval Gliding Centre (PNGC), in Lee-on-the-Solent,

James said: ‘It was amazing really. I couldn’t believe what I was doing.

‘When I started the landing procedure I got slightly nervous. I didn’t want to disappoint the people on the ground by landing badly.’

James managed to keep calm and have a successful flight even after the cable attaching him to the winch broke during take-off, meaning he had to land immediately and start again.

He added: ‘It was annoying, but I was trained for that possible situation.’

James’s flight came after five months of training at the PNGC, which he partly funded with a paper round.

His instructor, Geoff Clark, 57, said: ‘James is the youngest person I have ever sent solo.

‘He is a very confident young man and conducts himself in a professional manner at all times.

‘I had total confidence in him.’