Schoolboy becomes youngest solo pilot at 16


Schoolboy Louis Lapac cannot vote, smoke, buy alcohol or drive a car but he is the youngest pilot to fly solo in the UK – at the tender age of just 16.

Schoolboy becomes youngest solo pilot at 16

Intrepid Louis’ ‘got his wings’ and took to the skies for a 15 minute flight on his birthday and successfully negotiated a five mile circuit at 1,000ft.

The flight beat the previous Guinness Record set by fellow 16-year-old Sam Rayworth above Derby Airfield on September 23 this year.

Louis set off on the mission from Gloucestershire Airport, Glos., having practiced four circuits in the Piper Warrior aircraft used specifically for student training.

He said: ”It was a really good day. I was a bit nervous at first but once I got up in the air I just felt excited. It was strange my instructor not being there.

”The whole feeling – it was just wonderful. There was too much to concentrate on to worry about things too much.

”There are lots of books to read and quite a few exams to get your licence but I’ve sat one already and passed.

”My Mum and Dad were really proud and I’d like to thank them and my instructor Tim. Once I’ve got my licence I’d love to fly to the Channel Islands.”

Schoolboy becomes youngest solo pilot at 16

Businessman dad Mike Lapac was overjoyed to see Louis make the historic flight and watched on with Mum Tracey, 44, and sister Rebecca, 20.

They gave him a trial flight for his 14th birthday which they say hooked him to the hobby and he has flown at least once a fortnight since ever since.

Mike said: ”It was very nerve-wracking. It frightened me to death!

”It’s probably the worst feeling I’ve ever had in my life. Once those wheels are in the air, you’re in the hands of the gods but his take off and landing were fine.

”He’ll have a pilot’s licence before he can drive a car which is great.

”It was back to school soon after though and back to business to get the exam grades he needs.”

The flight was culmination of two years of tuition at Aeros Flight Training, based at the airport.

Louis’ instructor Tim Raby was delighted with his achievement.

He said: ”We had four practice circuits and then at 9.20 I stepped out of the plane and let Louis attempt one on his own.

”The record only came to mind in the last two or three months but in the last few weeks his family and us said to him let’s go for it!”

Louis, from Worcester, attends Bishop Perowne School and will be going on to study Maths, Physics, Geography and Computing at A-Level.

Schoolboy becomes youngest solo pilot at 16

He hopes then to join the RAF, go to Oxford Aviation School or a commercial flight school in the US.

Businessman Mike reckons the training in total could cost the family £100,000 – with lessons costing £160-an-hour.

He added: ”The research we have done suggests that in four or five years time there’s going to be demand for pilots so we’re looking at it as an investment in Louis’ career.”


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