Teenage pilot sets club record with solo flight

Chris Curtis congratulates Lewis after his first solo flight
Chris Curtis congratulates Lewis after his first solo flight

A teenager has become the youngest ever solo pilot in Harborough to complete an unaccompanied flight in a high performance glider .

Lewis Bricknell (14) undertook the solo flight at The Gliding Centre in Husbands Bosworth on Saturday, February 2.

Watched closely by a crowd of 30 people and his parents Jo and Roy, Lewis executed a perfect aerotow launch, circuit and faultless landing to a round of applause from all the club members present at the time.

Lewis has been undergoing training at the club since October and he has made excellent progress.

Club chief flying instructor Chris Curtis said: “We expect to see great things from Lewis.

“He is a very capable and mature young pilot who has a very bright future ahead of him.”

Recent changes to the law, standardising the UK with already accepted European practises, have reduced the minimum age for solo pilots from 16 to 14.

Mr Curtis said: “Every individual is assessed on their flying skills and maturity before I take the decision that they are ready for the responsibility of solo flight.

“In Lewis’s case he has proved more than capable, I am absolutely delighted for him.”

The Gliding Centre at Husbands Bosworth is one of the largest and longest established gliding clubs in the UK with a modern fleet of high performance training and club aircraft.

The reduced minimum solo age is driving even greater interest in the sport.

Lewis, who lives in West Haddon, said he was delighted about his flight and that he was keen to pursue a career in aviation with his gliding being a great start to that ambition.

Mr Curtis said: “It’s a great opportunity for young people to develop their skills and maturity in a highly controlled environment.”

Club chairman Adam Gilmore also added his congratulations to Lewis.

He said: “At the Gliding Centre we understand the importance of attracting younger pilots into gliding.

“The club has a range of membership schemes designed to make gliding both safe and affordable for young pilots as we believe that the sport should be accessible for all, many congratulations to Lewis and his family on achieving this landmark in his flying career.”

For more information, phone The Gliding Centre on 01858 880521.