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Nineteen year-old lands pilot’s licence at Goodwood

Kieran Smith, a 19-year-old from Barnham, has obtained his Private Pilot’s Licence through training at Goodwood Aerodrome, making him one of the youngest in the country able to fly.

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In order to gain his PPL, Kieran had to pass nine ground exams – including navigation and meteorology – as well as complete a practical radio exam, undertake a skills test and fly 150-nautical miles solo, including landing at two different airfields.

Kieran’s love of aviation started when his father, who was in the Royal Navy, took him to Yeovilton air day to get up close and personal with a range of aircraft. After joining the Air Cadets, he was given the opportunity to go for his PPL after Mark Hillier wrote the book To War in a Spitfire, to help fund the Harry Strawn scholarship. The scholarship was offered to young members of the 2531 Bognor Regis Air Cadet Squadron and Kieran was one of only two whose applications were successful.

Kieran has been tutored throughout the process by the team at Goodwood’s Flying School and is appreciative of the lessons he has received from Joe Volke, Steve Hill, Andrew Gibbs, Charlotte Dadswell and Rob Wildeboer. He said; “It has been awesome and every flight has been a learning curve as well as being great fun. I have never had an experience like it that’s for sure!”

He is now considering whether to make a career out of flying. He said; “I am working in an operational role at Lee-On-Solent airfield at the moment, but am not sure whether to stay in this area or work towards commercial flying. At the moment, the PPL allows me to fly for fun, but I am thinking about making a career from it.”

Would-be pilots can begin the PPL training from as young as 14, but solo flights are restricted to those over 17 years old.

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