A Morpeth teenager who has ambitions to become a commercial pilot took his mum on his first flight since achieving an important qualification.
Jed Fisher has been learning how to master a flex-wing aircraft with Purple Aviation, based at Eshott Airfield, since the age of 14 with instructor Simon Jarvis.
Last year, he became one of the youngest people in the UK to fly solo as he piloted the light aircraft on his own a few days after turning 16.
After passing the five written examinations for the private pilot’s licence, the 17-year-old was recently successful in his practical flying assessment that started and finished at Eshott and covered various parts of Northumberland.
Qualifying flights to build up hours and experience are required before the final general flying test and they included journeys to and from airfields in East Fortune, East Lothian, Scotland, and Fishburn in County Durham.
He and parents Stan, who also has a pilot’s licence, and Mel, are also highlighting the bursary available to young people from the British Microlight Aircraft Association.
In summer 2015, Jed was one of the successful applicants for a £1,200 bursary.
His first passenger after gaining the licence was his mum. He took her on a flight from Eshott as a Christmas present.
“I needed to get at least 80 per cent for each of the written exams – the topics included aviation law and meteorology,” he said.
“It was helpful that they had all been successfully completed before the general flying test. This took about three hours, including a detailed briefing, and in the air I carried out a range of manoeuvres, simulations for responding to emergency situations such as engine failure and I was marked on my take-off and landing.
“It was intense, but I’m generally quite good at dealing with pressure and it was the first time that senior flying instructor Storm Smith was in the aircraft with me, so I actually enjoyed the experience.
“When I was told that I had passed this test and therefore achieved the licence, it felt great because it gives me the freedom to fly when I want.
“I’m very grateful to Purple Aviation, particularly Simon Jarvis as he has been spot-on throughout the process.
“My mum had previously been up the air in aircraft piloted by my dad, so she agreed that going on a flight with me would be a nice Christmas present when I suggested it to her.
“It was a bit windy on the day, but she really enjoyed it and it was nice for me to be able take her on a flight.”
He added that he had intended to do the general flying test a few days after his 17th birthday, but he had to delay it after injuring his wrist during a pre-season game for Morpeth RFC Colts.
The King Edward VI School student is currently doing his A-Levels. If he comes through the Class 1 medical without any issues being identified, he says there are two options available.
He can apply for an integrated course with the prestigious Oxford Aviation Academy. This leads to a guaranteed job, but he would have to go through a tough selection process and could not combine the course with another subject.
The modular route would take longer and there would be no job guarantee, but it is more flexible as he would be able to fit it around his life – including other studies.
Earlier this year, Jed took part in the Fly the Tyne event for Streetwise. More than 40 aircraft from across the UK flew over the River Tyne in Newcastle. The initiative had the full support of the Civil Aviation Authority and Newcastle Air Traffic Control and it raised funds for the charity, which provides specialist support services for young people aged between 11 and 25.
Jed attended the Pilot Live event in London Heathrow last month and he gained plenty of useful information about the big airlines, which companies will be recruiting over the next few years and training costs.
For more information about the flying school at Eshott, visit www.purpleaviation.co.uk