26.2°C 05:30 pm

If you can fix them, why not fly them?

Saturday, 18th February, 2017

Apprentice aircraft engineer Tate Banning with flying instructor Tim Laidler at the airport just after young Tate achieved a goal that he once thought might be out of his reach. Apprentice aircraft engineer Tate Banning with flying instructor Tim Laidler at the airport just after young Tate achieved a goal that he once thought might be out of his reach.

By Daniel Stringer

It was a very special day for a student pilot in Broken Hill last week and a local family that had helped him reach the sky.

Aero Club student, Tate Banning, completed his first solo flight on Saturday with great success.  

After hours of training, Tate described his first solo stint as a nerve-wracking but rewarding experience. 

“I was pretty nervous at first, having never flown by myself. 

“My instructor just told me to take it for a short flight around the course and once I did the first circuit I relaxed a little.” 

It was also a proud moment for Tate’s instructor, Tim Laidler, who says the first solo flight is one of the most memorable moments for any pilot. 

“The first solo is something every pilot remembers for the rest of their life and Tate should be very proud at reaching this milestone,” Mr Laidler said. 

Tate was the inaugural recipient of the Radford Family Flying Scholarship, which provides financial assistance to assist people wishing to obtain a Recreational Flying Certificate.

He says he is very grateful to the Radford family, as the scholarship gave him the opportunity to learn to fly. 

“Learning to fly is not a cheap exercise, as it costs a minimum of around $6000.

“I am very grateful to the Radford family, as without the scholarship I may never have had the opportunity to learn to fly.”  

Tate was no stranger to aircraft before learning to fly, as he works as an apprentice aircraft engineer.

Learning to fly the planes and not just work on them has always been a goal, however, and one day he would like to take his hobby to the next level. 

“At the moment it is just a hobby, but you never know where it could take you. 

“Perhaps one day I would like to be a professional pilot and fly commercial planes.”  

The Aero Club will be giving another budding aviator the opportunity to learn to fly, with the second scholarship being offered in the coming months. 

Details on how to apply will be published on the club’s Facebook page. 

Tate has a very simple message to those wanting to apply. 

“You have got to be in it to win it. 

“It is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to learn to fly, so just give it a go and apply.”

© Copyright 2017 Barrier Daily Truth, All Rights Reserved. ABN: 38 684 603 658