Brighton’s ‘Air Jordan’ takes to the skies alone

14/06/11. John Devlin. GRANGEMOUTH, TA Centre,  - pic of Air cadet Jordan Braes (17) who has just flown solo for first time.  (JT)
14/06/11. John Devlin. GRANGEMOUTH, TA Centre, - pic of Air cadet Jordan Braes (17) who has just flown solo for first time. (JT)

An air cadet scaled new heights when he became the first person in the long history of his squadron to fly solo.

Corporal Jordan Braes (17), from Brightons, has been hooked on flying from a young age and joined Grangemouth 1333 Squadron because he knew he would have the opportunity to take to the skies some day.

The former Braes High pupil, who will start an apprenticeship with Ineos in August, did just that when he took part in a two-week scholarship course run by Tayside Aviation at Dundee Airport – taking off, flying a complete circuit and landing a £400,000 single engine Grobe 115 Tutor.

It was 15 minutes of pure exhilaration for Jordan.

He said: “I had an air experience flight when I first joined the cadets and even got to take the controls a couple of times. I also flew in gliders with the cadets.

“I clocked up 11 hours 25 minutes flying time with an instructor on dual controls and then was allowed to go it alone. I was really nervous waiting for clearance to take off, but then I just got on with it.

“When you land again you just say to yourself, ‘I just flew solo!’.”

Flying instructor Jim Watt, managing director of Tayside Aviation, said: “We are contracted by the RAF to deliver the flying scholarship programme. Every year the RAF picks 140 cadets from all over the country to take part.

“About a third of them end up in the services and involved in flying in some way.

‘‘It’s a demanding course for a youngster – two weeks of theory and practical – and they have to work hard.

“The cadets who come here have got to be good and the results coming back from all Jordan’s instructors show he was well above average.”

Jordan gained a cadet badge for his historic flight, but more importantly took his first steps towards his dream of becoming a pilot.

He said: “I’ve got those hours in my log book now – 11 hours 40 minutes – so I can come back at some point and go for my pilot’s licence.”

Jordan would not admit it, but Jim said it for him – the young corporal has become a role model for younger cadets to look up to, having reached the pinnacle of cadet achievement by flying solo, and will no doubt inspire others to try and do the same.

Now he has passed his course with flying colours, Jordan is committed to gaining his Private Pilot Licence – which can be gained with a minimum of 45 hours flying time – and then his Commercial Pilot Licence, which requires 250 hours in the air.

The teenager’s accomplishment comes at an exciting time for 1333 Squadron, which will soon be putting the finishing touches to its memorial garden – finally installing their full-size replica Spitfire.