Ready to take to the skies, teenage pilot gets his wings

WHEN Mark Gwilt was 12 years old, he stood at the bottom of the runway at Leeds Bradford Airport watching the planes fly in overhead and said to his father, “that could be me one day.”

Mark Gwilt

And after three years of studying, 250 hours in the air, and spending his £70,000 inheritance - he has gained a commercial pilot’s licence at just 19 years old.

Mr Gwilt, of Pool in Wharfedale, first experience flying when his parents bought him a lesson for his 16th birthday.

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He continued his lessons at Multiflight training at Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) while studying for his GCSEs, and gained his private pilot’s licence. Two further years of study has seen him pass his Commercial Pilot’s Licence exams.

Mark Gwilt has become one of the youngest people to gain a commercial pilots licence at 19.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority’s latest figures, there were just five 19 year-olds holding commercial licences in 2012, and across the board, just 603 licences were held at any age.

He’s now searching for his first job as a First Officer, and hopes to fly Boeing 757s, but he’s already had his first passengers.

He said: “My mum is not the best flyer, and always said she wouldn’t dare come up. But I took her up for her birthday last month.”