FIFTEEN-year-old Will Barber became one of the youngest Australian pilots to complete a recreational solo flight on Tuesday morning.
Will took off on his own from the Tasmanian Aero Club near Launceston Airport, just three weeks after his 15th birthday.
Recreational pilots must be at least 15 to fly solo, and Will required additional permission from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to fly alone, due to the Aero Club’s location inside controlled airspace.
Will said he had felt satisfied as he performed a circuit above the club in his Jabiru aircraft.
‘‘It’s awesome, just the feeling of not having someone else in there, taking off you’re very light,’’ he said.
‘‘It felt really good, I kept talking to myself at moments pretending that John [Morley, his flying instructor] was there, but it all worked out very well.’’
Will said he hoped learning to fly solo would be a good first step before he applies for the Australian Defence Force Academy in a few years to become a fighter pilot.
Mr Morley said Will possessed many qualities necessary to make a good pilot, including personal discipline, dedication and aptitude.
‘‘I’d say he’s mature beyond his years, and that helps a lot,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m very pleased with him, I’ve sent a lot of pilots solo and he’s one of the better ones.’’