High Flying Teen Among Youngest Pilots in the Country
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An air cadet from South & West Yorkshire Wing has become one of the youngest pilots in the UK having completed her first solo flight only four weeks after her 16th birthday.
Rebecca Neale took the controls of the single-engine Cessna 150, taking off and landing from the historic Breighton Airfield, East Yorkshire, wartime home to 78 Squadron.
Rebecca who had been ready to solo for almost a month before her birthday was prevented from doing so because of her age, as you are only able to fly solo from the age of 16. On the week of her birthday the prevailing weather conditions were unsuitable and subsequent weekends proved too windy. However, at her last flying lesson the conditions proved ideal and she was able to successfully achieve her solo.
Her father, David, said: “Both I and my wife Linda are very proud of our daughter. Rebecca kept to herself her desire to fly as she thought we both would think her silly in her ambitions. However, Rebecca was unaware of the fact that I had in the past flown myself and could fully understand her wanting to fly. I told her that if she was serious she should join the air cadets. Shortly after that she gave up horse riding for flying lessons. She has never looked back since. “
Rebecca added: “I didn’t even think about getting my wings; I just love flying, and today was no different really. I always get nervous before a lesson, but as soon as I have control of the aircraft I forget the fact I feel nervous and just enjoy myself. Once I had taken off I had so much to concentrate on that I was lining up for landing before I knew it, I really enjoyed the whole flight. I was more worried about the weather in case strong cross winds would stop me from flying, but in the end it wasn’t that windy.”
Rebecca has been a cadet at 2357 (Goole) Squadron since the age of 14. The squadron’s commanding officer, Squadron Leader Adrian Owen, said: “We’re very proud of Rebecca who is a terrific cadet and has fully enjoyed everything the cadets has to offer. This time it was being able to fly a plane solo, but other days she’s also thrown herself into many of the other activities we do such as archery, camping, shooting and many others. It’s so rewarding for all of us as volunteers to see young people like Rebecca develop and succeed in so many ways.”
Rebecca hopes to go on to join the RAF and be selected for pilot training.