Teen’s first solo flight leaves his folks proud

Holly ThompsonSound Telegraph
Jack after he successfully completed his first solo flight on his 15th birthday
Camera IconJack after he successfully completed his first solo flight on his 15th birthday

A Secret Harbour teenager has flown a plane solo for the first time, before he’s even been behind the wheel of a car.

Jack Burgess celebrated his 15th birthday last month at Murrayfield Airport and completed his first flight without an instructor, after two years of training.

“Ever since I was a kid I loved the concept of flying and every time I was up on a passenger jet I would be super-excited,” he said.

“I figured this was something that I really wanted to do and so on my 13th birthday my parents got me a voucher to go for a scenic flight.

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“I was so excited, I went flying, came back and was gobsmacked I had just flown a plane for the first time.”

Jack said from there he had started lessons and had gone on to complete exams and many hours of lessons to then take on his first solo flight.

“To be able to fly solo you have to complete two written exams and then if you pass those you go and get a medical assessment,” he said.

“Then on the day, someone will go up with you for an hour, maybe tow, and if they are happy they’ll let you then go up by yourself.”

Alan, Jack’s father, said his son was the minimum age you could be to do a solo flight.

“We all went down to the airfield on his birthday and the weather wasn’t quite right, they weren’t sure Jack would be able to do it on the day” he said.

“Jack went up with an instructor and they did some circuits where they took off and landed again.

“They probably did it nine times before the plane landed and didn’t take off again.

“We thought maybe Jack was headed back but a few minutes later the plane took off again and we were told he had been sent up on his own.”

Mr Burgess said Jack would be officially presented with his wings at his school, Frederick Irwin, soon.

Jack’s mother, Lesley-Anne, said she and Alan were incredibly proud of what Jack had achieved.

“The whole time Jack has been taking flying lessons, he has just taken it in his stride; it is similar to taking driving lessons for him now” she said.

“I don’t know if people are aware you can start learning to fly from such a young age.”

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