Teenager has Will to succeed as instructor

A thumbs up from Will Blackburn, left, as he prepares to launch with Brian Gould at Wolds Gliding Club.

A thumbs up from Will Blackburn, left, as he prepares to launch with Brian Gould at Wolds Gliding Club.

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Most 16 year olds who had just finished their final GCSE exam are probably looking forward to a well earned rest – but not Wolds Gliding Club member Will Blackburn.

Will, from Seaton Ross, has just qualified as a gliding basic instructor at 16, and before he can even take a driving lesson.

A thumbs up from Will Blackburn, left, as he prepares to launch with Brian Gould at Wolds Gliding Club.

A thumbs up from Will Blackburn, left, as he prepares to launch with Brian Gould at Wolds Gliding Club.

After comprehensive training with the club’s senior instructors, he was sent to the briefing room and then into the air during a week with fellow club member Chris Price, a regional gliding instructor examiner, on the basic instructor’s course.

Finally, there was a further morning of practical tests with club chief instructor John Norman that included Will teaching a trial lesson at the controls, which he passed with flying colours.

His qualification was endorsed later that day, Thursday 24 June, by the British Gliding Association, exactly three months before his seventeenth birthday, making him the youngest instructor ever to qualify at the club.

Before taking off for his first trial lesson flight with visitor Brian Gould that evening Will said: “I can still hardly believe the phone call from the BGA this afternoon.

“I would like to join the RAF as a pilot and I have to thank everyone at the Wolds Gliding Club who has helped me get to this level already.

“I’m really looking forward to taking my family flying too to thank them for everything they have done”.

Will was able to do that in the evening and after he had finished his visitor flying he took his father, Mark, (not a pilot himself) for a sunset flight over Pocklington.

Mark, who has a motor engineering business, said: “Next I expect he will want to be wanting to learn to drive a car once he’s old enough.”

Now Will is planning to take his headmaster, Mark Ronan, of Pocklington School, for a flight soon.

John Norman said: “Will has shown remarkable dedication and skill since his first solo flight less than two years’ ago at Pocklington.

“He has more than met the requirements to become a basic instructor in the total hours he has flown since then and with achievements like his cross country flying for the silver badge qualification.

“He has even successfully completed an aerobatics course. The visitors who flew with him tonight commented on how clear his instruction was.”

If you want to try gliding for yourself the Club is holding a Taster Day this Saturday (4 July) when visitors can just come along from dawn to dusk on the day and take a flight with a club instructor for £25.

Visit www.wolds-gliding.com for more information about the event.