Henry McPhee flies solo at sixteen
At just sixteen-years-old, Henry McPhee, a student from Havant, accomplished something that many dream of, but few can achieve; his first solo flight in an aircraft.
Henry became interested in flying from a young age and was treated to a trial lesson at the Goodwood Flying School for his 15th birthday. That experience cemented his ambition to learn to fly and he began taking lessons for his Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL) with instructors Charlotte Dadswell and Joe Volke. After a mere 19 hours of flight time, Henry was given an unexpected go-ahead to fly on his own for the first time.
He said; “So far the experience has been great, I like the staff in the Flying School. My first solo flight was scary as I was surprised [by the instructor] mid-lesson. My parents were very proud that I had flown solo and I was happy with my achievement.”
Undertaking training for a PPL requires students to pass nine different ground exams, such as air law, meteorology and flight planning, as well as doing a minimum of 45 hours of active flying. Henry admits that the process has not always been straightforward. He said; “The one thing I have struggled with the most when flying is multi-tasking. I have always been really bad at multi-tasking but with flying it took a long time to master.”
Sixteen is the minimum legal age that a pilot can fly an aircraft solo and though Henry is not the first of his age to learn at Goodwood, the instructors have been impressed with his approach throughout the training process. He chose Goodwood to undertake his training as his family frequently visit the Aerodrome and described the learning experience as “great.”
Having recently turned 17 and with his first solo under his belt, Henry can now look towards the future, so what would he like to do when he gets his PPL? “Unfortunately, due to my red/green colour blindness, I am unable to train for a commercial licence, so I will use the licence for flying as a hobby,” he said.
As reward for achieving his first solo, Henry received a special memento from the Flying School team at an awards ceremony at the Kennels last month.