Melton student celebrates rare double flying feat

MV16 student Tom Madigan, who has qualified to fly a light aircraft solo at the age of 18, four years after gaining his glider pilot's licence EMN-170315-170249001
MV16 student Tom Madigan, who has qualified to fly a light aircraft solo at the age of 18, four years after gaining his glider pilot's licence EMN-170315-170249001

Few 18-year-olds are qualified to fly solo in an aircraft and a glider like Tom Madigan.

The MV16 student was one of the youngest people in the country to get his glider licence when he was 14.

And he has just passed his theory and practical exams to pilot a light aircraft.

Tom, who lives at Waltham, said: “It feels really good to get my flying licence and I’m looking forward to taking my family up for a flight.

“My friends seem pretty impressed - I suppose it’s not every day you have a school friend who is qualified to fly an aircraft.”

Tom, a former pupil at Belvoir High School in Bottesford and St Francis School in Melton, first got interested in flying when the family lived in Saltby.

He said: “I used to see the gliders flying over the house from the village airfield and my uncle was interested in it.

“I started gliding at 13 and when they lowered the age for flying solo to 14 I became one of the first in the country to qualify which was quite amazing.”

He added: “It takes more skill to fly a glider because you have no engine and you have to find the thermals in the air.”

His mum Angela said: “I’m proud as punch.

“I think it’s fantastic that someone so young is qualified to fly a glider and a plane.”