17:39 Monday 17 February 2014

Robert, 16, flew solo for first time on birthday

Written bySARAH BOULD

NOT many 16-year-olds can say they have flown a plane solo – but that’s exactly what a lucky teenager did for his birthday.

Robert Carr took to the skies solo in a Cessna 152 light aircraft.

He began lessons in a helicopter and had previously spent around 16 hours learning to fly, taught by flying instructor Martin Handley.

His mum Tina said: “There are not many people who can say they have flown a plane on their own at 16.

“He wasn’t nervous, he was really confident and had a fantastic time – when he landed he wanted to go straight back up.”

People as young as 14 can take lessons. They can then fly solo at 16 if they are good enough.

Robert flew the plane unaccompanied for 15 minutes at Tatenhill Airfield.

He will be able to apply for a full licence in a year’s time when he reaches 17.

When he is older Robert, a pupil at Denstone College Independent School near Uttoxeter, is aiming for a career in the aviation industry as a aeronautical engineer.

The job involves the research, design, development, construction, testing, science and technology of aircraft and spacecraft.

He will sit his GCSEs this year and will go on to do A’ level subjects including history, chemistry and biology.

Tina said she was very proud of Robert, who follows in the footsteps of his dad who is a helicopter pilot – something he does as a hobby.

Robert’s older brother Michael also flies as a hobby.

Tina added: “He can’t drive a car until he is 17 but can fly a plane on his own at 16.”

At the moment Robert, of Hamstall Ridware, near Yoxall, is only able to fly at the airfield.

Once he gets his licence at 17, it will give him free rein to fly anywhere.

Now he has flown on his own he aims to take to the skies again as soon as this week.

More in information on flying lessons at Tatenhill Airfield can be found at tatenhill.com. Services on offer include pilot training, aircraft hire, avionics installation and design.

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