Carol Vorderman passes her final exam to get her PILOT’S licence

Carol in the cockpit of her light aircraft
Carol in the cockpit of her light aircraft

TV brainbox Carol Vorderman was on cloud nine yesterday after passing her final exam to gain her PILOT’S licence.

Chuffed Carol, 52, completed her last test with flying colours and is now able to fulfil her dream – to fly solo round the world.

The ‘Loose Women’ star secured her Private Pilots Licence (PPL) with one final exam at Gloucestershire Airport in Staverton.

Carol in the cockpit of her light aircraft
Carol in the cockpit of her light aircraft
Carol Vorderman jumps for joy after learning that she has passed her final exam for her pilot's licence
Carol Vorderman jumps for joy after learning that she has passed her final exam for her pilot’s licence

She glided down onto the runway and made an impressively smooth landing and hopped out of the single-engined, Piper PA-28 aircraft before her examiner broke the news she had passed.

The bubbly presenter leapt into the air and into the arms of her partner and former Red Arrows pilot Graham Duff – before hugging flight school staff.

Carol said: “I’m a pilot! I’m a pilot! I’ve done it at last. I’ve wanted to do this all my life.

“I love my maths and when I got into Cambridge I thought that would be my best chance at becoming a pilot.

“But the RAF didn’t take women then. British Airways then stopped their training programme and I ended up in a frozen peas factory.

“Then, of course, there was Countdown. When you are working six or seven days-a-week, it has never really been possible – until now.”

Carol completed 65 hours of training before she took the sought after PPL, which allows her to fly with passengers.

During the exam, examiner Bill Tollett asked her to navigate to a number of locations as well as complete tasks to simulate engine failures, such as mid-air stalls.

She had to perform nail-biting steep turns, false landings and practise approaching the runway from a number of angles.

The TV star admitted: “I was very nervous the night before, but once I got up there and talked it all through it was just fantastic.”

The newly-qualified pilot will embark on her first qualified flight tomorrow (fri) when she will fly to Cambridge to see daughter Katie.

But Carol assured fans the flight would be “after Loose Women”.

Her aerial achievements were watched closely from the ground by partner – and former Red Arrow – Graham, as well as flying teacher Debra Ford.

Debra said: “She is a real inspiration and shows you are never too old to learn a new skill and fulfil your dreams.”

Carol recently made aviation history as the first person to perform their inaugural solo flight live on television as millions watched on ITV’s This Morning Show.

Next November she will attempt to fly solo around the world, a 29,000 mile journey following in the footsteps of Amelia Earhart’s doomed 1936 mission.

But Carol, who only took up flying in June, has a lot more training to do before she attempts her challenge.

She will spend the next year in an intensive training programme, learning how to do aerobatics, rough terrain landings and deal with fatigue.

Brave Carol will also be taught how to fly in thick cloud and in formation, before she can attempt her solo feat.

“Really I’m just a toddler now who can stumble along – the real work starts now,” she added.

Earlier in the day yesterday Carol tweeted her fears the weather might delay her vital final test.

She wrote: ”Well today is the big day…. Massive flying test, then hopefully I’ll have my pilot’s licence. Xxx hope cold front will pass thru by noon.”


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