Flying high

PUBLISHED: 11:41 02 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:08 06 May 2010

Jean gets a final briefing from his instructor Erik Caers before his solo flight

Jean gets a final briefing from his instructor Erik Caers before his solo flight

A TEENAGER reached for the sky when he flew a plane solo for the first time. Jean Smith, of Harvest Lane, Stevenage, took the controls of a four-seater plane just three weeks after his 16th birthday – the youngest age you can fly without an instructor. He

A TEENAGER reached for the sky when he flew a plane solo for the first time.

Jean Smith, of Harvest Lane, Stevenage, took the controls of a four-seater plane just three weeks after his 16th birthday - the youngest age you can fly without an instructor.

He said: "It was great but it wasn't until afterwards that I realised 'wow', I just did that on my own."

He added: "My dad used to be in the air force and so I have always been interested in flying.

"I just love it. It's a great feeling to be up there. You can see everything from a different point of view and it's quite amazing."

Jean only began flying four months ago and has had a total of around 15 hours of flying lessons.

His father, John, regularly accompanies him to Panshanger airfield - where Jean takes regular lessons and also took to the skies alone.

John said: "It was a very scary experience for me standing on the ground.

He added: "I was in the air force and I think that's where the bug has bitten him."

Jean's ambition is to ultimately train as a commercial pilot.

He said: "It's pretty much an idea I have had in my head since I was little. It's my dream, my life goal and I'm getting lots of support from my family.

John said: "Its expensive training but it's his dream and he's my son so we are definitely supporting him all the way.

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