November 15th 2016

Josh takes to the skies before his friends can even drive

Josh Wood after flying solo

Josh Wood after flying solo

He’s not old enough to drive a car yet – but 16-year-old Josh Wood is already piloting planes on his own thanks to the Air Cadets.

The member of 1237 (North Hykeham) Squadron of the Air Training Corps, who lives in Lincoln, recently completed his first ever solo flight.

He’d always aspired to be a pilot with the RAF and he’s already flying towards that target thanks to three-year’s of training with the Air Cadets.

The opportunities provided by being an Air Cadet culminated in him taking to the skies over Scotland on his own last month (October).

Josh said: “Flying a powered aircraft solo for the first time was an absolutely incredible and unforgettable experience.

Josh Wood

Josh Wood

“Growing up around major RAF stations such as Coningsby, Cranwell, Waddington and Scampton left me always fascinated by the aircraft and I joined the Air Cadets as I wanted to get a taste of what my future career would entail and what flying is like.

“I first flew in a private aircraft when I was 13-years-old with an instructor and soloed a glider just three months after my 14th birthday following over seven hours of flying time.

“After my first experience of being in the air with the Air Cadets at RAF Syerston, I was hooked and my addiction to flying began.”

Josh has now accrued over 150 hours of flying and has completed his Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FIA) silver badge which consisted of a 50km flight, a five hour duration flight and a height gain of 1,000m.

He’s well established at flying gliders, taking on distances of up to 300km with instructors in gliding competitions.

He’s also become a Flight Staff Cadet at 7 Air Experience Flight (7AEF a training unit of Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve) situated at RAF Cranwell which allows him to regularly use the RAF’s basic elementary training aircraft, the Grob Tutor.

It all led to being invited to a prestigious air cadet pilot scheme last month that allowed him to fly the Aquila A211 solo after 12 hours tuition with Tayside Aviation near Dundee.

Josh, a pupil at St Peter and St Paul’s Catholic Academy in Lincoln, said: “Most people are shocked when they find out I can fly aircraft, however they are always interested and intrigued to find out more.

“After flying a powered aircraft solo for the first time I want to expand on this achievement and achieve my Private Pilot’s License (PPL).

“I am currently applying for bursaries to help fund the large cost of a PPL as currently I don’t have the funds to fully complete it, but I am very determined to find a way around the financial barrier and achieve my dream of being awarded my PPL.

“I would like to be a fast jet pilot in the RAF. However I’d enjoy flying for an airline and have recently been looking at a plethora of Future Flyer programmers to enable me to get into the commercial side of aviation.

“I am interested in any job that involves flying as I would love to be paid for what I absolutely love doing. “

“It highlighted to me that flying was all that I want to do as a career! Flying solo is undoubtedly my best achievement yet."