Pilot Notes

Pilot - - CONTENTS -

CAA cost-shar­ing ad­vice, elec­tric Air­lan­der, and more

De­spite hav­ing to wait al­most an­other three years be­fore he can le­gally drive a car in the UK, on 15 April Mak­sim ‘Maks’ Fer­gu­son from South­port, Mersey­side claimed the ti­tle of youngest UK ci­ti­zen−and one of the youngest in the world−to fly solo in a pow­ered air­craft. Mak­sim, then four­teen years, one month and 28 days old, made a solo flight in a Piper War­rior from Burling­ton, On­tario, Canada.

“They had can­celled nearly all the flights as the weather was so bad and I thought that any op­por­tu­nity to fly had gone out the win­dow,” he says. “Then we got a call from the Chief Flying In­struc­tor, who said I was ready and could go solo. It all hap­pened so fast and I was so ner­vous sit­ting there on the run­way in the plane by my­self. It also didn’t help that my dad−who is also a pilot−and all my in­struc­tors were stood right beside it film­ing me and tak­ing pic­tures!

“It was still re­ally windy and I just thought to my­self, ‘con­cen­trate, you can do this’. It was a big re­lief though when I touched back down… This whole ex­pe­ri­ence is a mas­sive tick off my flying bucket list. I want to go solo in the UK as soon as I turn six­teen and we will def­i­nitely be com­ing back to Canada be­fore then so I can go solo again.”

Mak­sim took his first of­fi­cial flying les­son with Air Nav­i­ga­tion & Trad­ing at Black­pool when he was eight years old, and has since logged forty-plus of­fi­cial and nu­mer­ous un­of­fi­cial flying hours. His flying in­struc­tor at ANT, Russell Why­ham, said: “Maks is by far the youngest pilot we’ve ever trained in our sev­en­ty­plus year his­tory. He’s been ob­sessed with aero­planes since his first les­son… His level of train­ing, skill and ded­i­ca­tion has meant that he’s been ready to fly solo for a num­ber of years now and the only thing that’s held him back is his age. We al­ready have his first solo UK flight planned on his six­teenth birth­day and we are counting down the days to when he can progress onto more com­plex flying tech­niques and routes.”

And Mak­sim’s ul­ti­mate am­bi­tion? “One day I want to fly for one of the ma­jor air­lines or join the RAF.”

Mak­sim Fer­gu­son be­fore his his­toric solo flight

Maks flying his first solo cir­cuit

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