Sky’s the limit for teen flier prodigy

Ariane Edge, 16 after her first solo flight in the BA28 Piper Warrior
Ariane Edge, 16 after her first solo flight in the BA28 Piper Warrior
David Massey (81) from Warsash  

Picture: Sarah Standing (170890-5219

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A TEEN pilot has been heralded as one of the best a flight school ‘has ever seen’ after she accomplished her first solo flight at the tender age of 16.

Ariane Edge, from Lee-on-the-Solent, is training for her pilot’s licence after wowing the flight instructors at Phoenix Aviation on the Daedalus site in Lee when she did work experience aged 15.

She’s one of the best we’ve ever seen

Frank Thompson, Phoenix Aviation’s co-director

The Crofton School pupil impressed the instructors so much that they decided to sponsor her to complete her private pilot’s licence.

Phoenix Aviation’s co-director Frank Thompson was full of praise for the budding pilot.

He said: ‘She simply has a knack for flying. You could see it from the first time she got in the cockpit.

‘It’s quite rare to find someone with her talents at this age, she’s one of the best we’ve ever seen.

‘She’s a natural.’

Ariane took to the skies in the BA28 Piper Warrior for the first time on her own on Saturday, May 7 and will have to complete a 150-mile solo round trip later this year in order to finish her training.

The journey came just seven weeks after she turned 16 on March 15 – which is the youngest a person is allowed to fly solo.

Ariane, who is the youngest student the flight school has ever had, is studying for her GCSEs.

She said: ‘I just love it. When you are up there on your own, it just feels so different. It’s the idea that you could go anywhere.

‘After my first flight, I was just so desperate to do it again.’

She’s now targeting a career in the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a pilot and if she succeeds in her GCSEs is planning to do her A-levels at Bay House School in Gosport before applying for the RAF.

She added: ‘Being a pilot is all I really want to do now.’

Ariane is set to take her final tests to gain the licence after turning 17 next March.