At just 17, Sam Kennaugh has gained his private pilot licence (PPL).
This makes him the youngest to do so in the island, if not the British Isles.
He’s not the youngest in the world, however. That accolade, as far as it is known, goes to a young man in the USA who passed his PPL within days of turning 17. Sam passed within four months of his 17th brithday.
He began the process of qualifying for the PPL in August 2012 and gaining the licence has involved multiple examinations, such as tests on the weather and the mechanics of the plane and then a solo flight from Ronaldsway airport, all under the guidance of instructor Ashley Gardener.
The solo flight was undertaken on July 31 and it was, of course, the ultimate test – not least for his parents Carolyn and Paul!
So, how was it?
‘The first time it was a weird experience,’ admitted Sam.
‘The emotions I felt were excitement and nervousness. It was not scary, it was quite a cool experience. Landing was not too bad. It is very surreal flying on your own.’
The Castletown resident said he had always wanted to be a pilot and after finishing his A-levels in maths, physics and geography at Castle Rushen High School he hopes to go to Oxford Aviation Academy to become a commercial pilot and fly large aircraft.
Behind all this is a young man with a very cool head and extremely supportive parents. Sam said so far his mum and dad had stumped up £12,000 to get him to this stage.
‘It’s involved a lot of begging mum,’ he said.