Ollie flies into the record books

PUBLISHED: 19:40 08 February 2012 | UPDATED: 21:00 20 February 2013

Ollie flies into the record books

Ollie flies into the record books

A Cheltenham schoolboy celebrated his 16th birthday recently with a helicopter flight with a difference

Ollie flies into the record books


A Cheltenham schoolboy celebrated his 16th birthday recently with a helicopter flight with a difference.

Ollie Chadwick made two unaccompanied solo flights from Gloucestershire Airport, one in a jet turbine helicopter and one in a piston engine helicopter.

Sixteen is the youngest permitted age for a solo flight and, although a handful of other young pilots have made a first helicopter solo flight at age 16 (and in one case at 14, in Canada), it is believed that this is the youngest first solo in a jet turbine helicopter, immediately followed by a second solo flight in a piston helicopter, at such an early age.

Ollie, a GCSE fifth former at Cheltenham College, was originally given a trial helicopter lesson on his 12th birthday and has continued training at the local airport ever since, but the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will only allow solo flights from age 16.

The weather was bright, but cold with a brisk south-westerly wind, when he made the two short solo flights. Speaking afterwards, a beaming Ollie said, It was a great feeling to be solely responsible for the helicopters. I was mesmerised by helicopters from an early age, so the opportunity of learning to fly has been fantastic. These are both super helicopters and really rewarding to fly. And everyone at Gloucestershire Airport and my School has been very supportive.

Head of Operations at Gloucestershire Airport, Darren Lewington, said, We are delighted that Ollie has been able to make these solo flights on his 16th birthday. Completing a first solo flight is a big achievement for any student pilot, but doing it twice, and at such a young age, is a massive achievement. I have no doubt that Ollie has a very bright future ahead of him.

We see many young pilots at the airport training for their private and commercial licenses, and we feel very privileged to be a service provider and part of the support network for those at the start of their aviation careers.

See a video of Ollies flights here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Io_abZGX5Ik&feature=youtu.be

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