A young Denny man is destined for a life of derring-do in the skies after passing his first test on the path to becoming a pilot with flying colours.
Strapping 6ft 5in Connor Boyle can’t drive a car as he only has a provisional licence, but he can fly a plane on his own.
The 17-year-old Corporal from the 867 Denny Squadron Air Training Corps was given control of a single engine Grob Heron at 2000 feet, landing it at Dundee Airport to become the first cadet from his squadron to complete the Air Cadet Pilot Scheme (ACPS) with 12 hours flying time towards a Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL).
He has now literally earned his wings and gained the ACPS badge – which now sits proudly on the arm of his flying suit.
“Apparently I passed with flying colours, as they say, and everyone was saying how much I nailed the landing. It felt amazing,” said Connor.
“I’ve got 12 hours flying time now so I’ll keep on working until I get the 30 hours you need for a PPL. The ACPS is basically a kickstart for any young person who wants to pursue a career in aviation and the lessons are paid for by RAF’s Central Flying School.
“You have to do written tests, cover Air Law and how to react in emergency situations before you get to go up on your own. It’s very physically and mentally demanding. It only lasts two weeks but your mind never switches off from flying.
“I joined the Denny Air Cadets five years ago and have learned so much in that time, not just about flying but loads of other skills. It’s brilliant.”
It’s not quite chocks away now for Cpl Connor as unfortunately his dream of joining the Royal Air Force (RAF) has had to be put on hold. He won’t be able to apply until next year after breaking his leg in a motorbike accident leaving work as a kitchen porter at the Coppertop in Camelon.
Flight Lieutenant Andy Johnston, who has taken Connor under his wing for the last five years, said: “Connor was about 5ft 7in when he first came here but he seems to be about 6ft 7in, not just in height but in character too.
“But that’s what the Air Cadets can do for young men and women. It gives them a range of skills that lifts their confidence and stature. Connor will be a great pilot one day, I’m sure of that, and any youngsters who want to do the same can start right here.”