A thrill-seeking teenager today told of his joy after becoming the youngest ever solo glider pilot in the UK.
Ryan Littlejohn, 14, from Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, started training to fly a glider two years ago with an instructor coaching him in the back seat.
Ryan was outstanding right from the beginning, and after about 10 flights he could manage even the hardest conditionsIstvan Toth
But the youngster has now single-handedly taken the aircraft to the skies after he got the go-ahead from flying bosses who asked him to ‘bring it back in one piece’.
He is now Britain’s youngest ever solo glider flier - beating previous holder Callum Lavender, from Chinnor, Oxfordshire, by a number of days.
Ryan, said: ‘I was really nervous, but at the same time I wasn’t, I was mostly fine.
‘I wasn’t really thinking about anything but doing what I had to do.
‘I just sort of pretended in my head that my instructor was there running through what I was doing.’
‘It’s weird seeing things that we see every day but from a completely different perspective.
‘It’s really cool.’
Instructor Istvan Toth, who works at Deeside Gliding Club, has taught Ryan since he started.
He said: ‘Ryan was outstanding right from the beginning, and after about 10 flights he could manage even the hardest conditions.
‘We just proceeded through the theory described in the manual.
‘It was a pleasure to fly with this young man because he started early in his childhood when he was able to sit in the glider.
‘And step by step, he learned everything with hard work.’
Istvan has been gliding for 40 years, and is in his fourth season teaching gliding at Deeside Gliding Club.