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Leicestershire Schoolgirl is the UK's youngest qualified pilot

(September 24, 2008)
(Courtesy of RaisingKids.Com)
While her friends are racking up hours on the Wii, 16-year-old Sally Cluley has no need for flight simulation games. She's better at the real thing.

The schoolgirl from Birstall in Leicestershire has already achieved 45 flying hours and passed seven ground school examinations to become the youngest qualified pilot in the UK.

Thanks to a bequest from her late grandmother, Sally joined the 1947 training squadron at RAF Birstall in 2006.

In order to pass her Civil Aviation Authority exams, she had to fly at least 25 'dual instruction' hours and make 10 hours of supervised solo flights. Sally also studied aviation law, navigation and meteorology.

'Flying just seemed to come naturally to me. It makes me feel as free as a bird,' said the 16-year-old, who caught the aviation bug after her first time as an air cadet.

She hopes to join the RAF or become a commercial pilot and is looking forward to completing the 100 flying hours required for the next level of qualification.

Despite qualifying for her Private Pilot License at the end of August, Sally will not legally be awarded it until Sunday (28 September). Aviation law forbids anyone under 17 from having a flying license and it's not Sally's birthday until the weekend.

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