Maritzburg teen (15) is SA’s youngest student pilot to fly solo

2012-11-20 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG’S Colin Campbell is South Africa’s youngest student pilot to fly solo.

This comes two months after the Civil Aviation Regulations reduced the qualifying age for student pilots to fly solo from 16 to 15 years.

The Grade 10 Maritzburg College pupil, who celebrated his 15th birthday in February, was very calm as he spoke to The Witness about his proud moment which took place on Thursday.

“I was nervous at first but once I realised I had to do what I had to do I felt more confident in myself. It was an amazing feeling being up there by myself,” he said.

The teenager flew a two-seater Cessna 150 training aeroplane which is used by the Pietermaritzburg Aero Club.

Colin, who started flying when he was around five or six years old, was taught by his father, Dave Campbell, the chief flying instructor at the club.

The club is an independent, non-profit organisation aimed at fostering aviation in general, and at providing flying to its members.

This was a proud moment for the father who said he had never had a doubt in his mind that his son would become a pilot.

“Whenever I flew I would take him with me. He started flying when he could reach the control column,” Campbell said.

The young pilot could not resist the flying bug because of his family background. For the Campbells, flying is more of a family tradition.

His grandfather was an instructor and aviator in Pietermaritzburg and his uncle is also a pilot.

He also has a 13-year-old brother who, according to his father “looks like a young promising pilot”.

Although Colin has not gone into exploring his career choice yet, he said flying was “a big possibility”.

“I love flying,” Colin said.

According to Campbell, one needs discipline, a sense of responsibility and ability to be a good pilot. These are qualities that his son has shown.

When he is not flying, the young pilot also enjoys fishing and hunting.

Campbell said his son was the youngest in SA to go solo.

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