Gateshead teenager flying high after being awarded his pilot’s licence in record time
James Potts, 19, of Gateshead, was awarded his private pilot licence after training at PTT Aviation at Newcastle Airport
Whizzkid James Potts is reaching for the skies after being awarded his private pilot licence in record time. It took the teenage retail worker just three months from taking his first flying lesson to pass.
James, who is aiming to become a RAF pilot, trained at PTT Aviation at Newcastle Airport and his achievement makes him the fastest qualifier of the past year.
The 19-year-old, of Gateshead, said: “My Uncle used to fly in the RAF and I have always been interested in aviation so it’s the only career I have ever considered.”
With the licence under his belt, James is now qualified to pilot aircraft privately and with non-commercial passengers. He is now moving on to his ‘Night Rating’, which will allow him to fly in the dark and his ‘Instrument Rating’, which will allow him to fly in adverse weather conditions.
But despite his achievement, it wasn’t all plain sailing. James said: “Although I learned in record time, my first solo, which I completed after 16 hours of training, was nerve-wracking and so were the ground exams. I’m much more of a practical, outdoorsy person so I found them a challenge.”
James’ instructor, Ben Harrison, said: “It can often take years to complete your private pilot licence, especially if you’re working full time alongside your training, but James is one of the most dedicated and passionate students I have come across.
“There was nothing that was going to get in the way of him securing his PPL as fast as he could – and now he’s straight on to the next qualification.”
Craig McLeod, managing director of PTT, added: “At PTT we want to nurture the pilots of tomorrow so we offer modular cost-effective training programmes that allow students to progress at a rate which suits them.
Everyone takes a different length of time to qualify, but James, with his end goal in sight has really proven a miraculously fast learner – his story shows what’s possible.
We couldn’t be more pleased with James’ progress – we’re sure he’s going to go far.”
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