First solo flight for teenage Welwyn Garden City pilot

PUBLISHED: 09:32 18 February 2016 | UPDATED: 09:32 18 February 2016

Kieran Satchell with the microlight he flew on his 16th birthday

Kieran Satchell with the microlight he flew on his 16th birthday

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An aviation-mad youngster from Welwyn Garden City made a solo microlight flight on the very first day possible - his 16th birthday.

Monks Walk school pupil Kieran Satchell of Uplands has been having assisted flights for about a year, but did not want to wait a day longer than legally necessary for his first flight unassisted.

He told the Welwyn Hatfield Times after his flight on Friday morning: “I have waited so long. but it was the best experience by far I have ever had.”

He started flying lessons in light aircraft at Panshanger Aerodrome at the age of 11, but switched to Hunsdon Airfield near Harlow when it closed in September 2014.

Kieran added: “It wasn’t until my first turn to the right that I looked over and realised he (his instructor) wasn’t there. It felt strange, but it went brilliantly”.

With less weight to carry than on his instructed flights and a stiff breeze blowing, the microlight rocked a little, but he managed a faultless landing.

Kieran caught the aviation bug from his grandfather, who took him to air shows from a “ridiculously young” age.

His mother has kept pictures he drew of aircraft when just two.

He aims to add to his flying hours over the next year, in preparation for taking his microlight licence test on his 17th birthday.

This will entitle him yo fly any two-seater aircraft with the official weight restrictions to be classed as a microlight.

Kieran’s ambition is to work partly as a microlight instructor, and partly restoring old aircraft.

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