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Solo flight for young Max

PUBLISHED: 16:19 09 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:57 12 July 2010

Young pilot Max Randall who has just completed his first solo flight the day after his 16th birthday.

Young pilot Max Randall who has just completed his first solo flight the day after his 16th birthday.

A south Norfolk schoolboy has taken a major step towards his dream of becoming a professional pilot by flying an aircraft solo at the tender age of 16.

A south Norfolk schoolboy has taken a major step towards his dream of becoming a professional pilot by flying an aircraft solo at the tender age of 16.

Only bad weather last Sunday prevented Max Randall, of Starston, from accomplishing the feat on his 16th birthday - the earliest date that unaccompanied flights are permitted in this country. But he was back at the controls of the Cessna 150 the following day and achieved his goal.

His passion for flying was inspired by trips abroad with his family.

“My dad works abroad so we were often flying about a bit, so the corny story was going up in the cockpit - that's what started it,” he explained.

“Year 10 at my school was doing work experience and one of my teachers' fathers was a flight instructor. She said 'I'll see if I can get you anything in the flight world' and I did work experience with Skydrift Air Charter, based at Norwich Airport. That made me more keen to learn.”

A student at Langley School, in Loddon, Max lives near Harleston and signed up for a test flight at the Anglian Air Centre when he was 14.

“That's when you can start registering your flight hours. I have further exams to do and more flights before I become a pilot, so I am on my way,” he said.

His instructor at the Norwich centre, Linda Smith, said Max is one of their star pupils.

“We are pretty proud of him. To have the maturity at that age to be capable of flying an aircraft solo, certainly not every lad of 16 has it.”

She added: “They can get their pilots licence at 17 and Max, I imagine, is going to be sitting there with all the bits and pieces in his hot and sticky hands knocking at the door.”


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