Teen bags his wings at just 17

Ben is pictured with Frank Morgan's School of Flying chief instructor Dr Jim Loose at Humberside shortly after the test.
Ben is pictured with Frank Morgan's School of Flying chief instructor Dr Jim Loose at Humberside shortly after the test.

A Skegness pupil’s high-flying prowess has seen him earn his wings at the tender age of just 17.

Skegness Grammar School pupil Ben Swift has gained his Pilot’s Licence after passing his Flying Skills Test at Humberside International Airport last week following 45 hours of flight tuition and success in a range of written tests.

He first started training in February this year when he was only 16.

He went solo in March after completing just 11 hours instruction, and in April completed his qualifying cross country flight.

This comprised of a 180 mile round trip, during which he landed at Nottingham and Sherburn Airports and overflew Doncaster before returning to Humberside.

Ben’s father commented: “It seems crazy that at 16 years of age it is legal for him to fly solo in and out of key airports in aeroplanes (up to a weight of five tons and capable of flying at speeds in excess of 170 mph), but he could not legally drive a car on our roads!”

You can see a video of his first solo flight at Humberside on YouTube (see right).

Ben, who is also a keen musician, is looking to train as an airline pilot as soon as he reaches his 18th birthday.

Ben’s Headmaster Mr Ward, said: “Skegness Grammar School is very proud of Ben’s achievements and it is supporting his dream to become an airline pilot, balancing his love of flying with his academic studies.”