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UK’s Youngest Female Helicopter Pilot Qualifies At 17‌

Olivia Thompson makes history by earning PPL(H) license, plans trips to Alton Towers and Paris after just four months of training.‌ ‌
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A high-flying teenager has become the UK’s youngest ever female to qualify as a helicopter pilot – on her 17th birthday.

Olivia Thompson made aviation history when she picked up her private helicopter pilot’s license (PPL(H)) on Thursday, July 4 after just four months of training.

It means she’s now fully qualified to carry passengers alongside her in a helicopter domestically and overseas – before being able to legally drive a car.

Olivia now plans to fly her friends for a day out to Alton Towers and take her family on a trip to Paris after earning her wings at Nottingham Airport.

It took her just under four months to go from a novice to getting her PPL(H), allowing her to command a helicopter for non-commercial purposes.

Olivia, from Smalley, Derbys., said: “It’s not really sunk in yet, but I’m really happy and really grateful to everyone who came along to see me and who has helped and supported me along the way.

“I was really nervous before the test but once I was in the air I felt comfortable and in control.

“Now I’ve done it, I’m a helicopter pilot, and this is what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life, which is really exciting and a bit unreal.

“I’m now able to take my friends up for a helicopter trip and I’ve decided I want to take them to Alton Towers.

“The license also allows me to fly overseas, so I’d like to fly my family to Paris.

Olivia at the start of her training. TOM MADDICK VIA SWNS.

“My dad’s always said the difference between success and failure is hard work, and I have worked really hard.

“But I enjoy flying so much and feel so happy doing it that it doesn’t feel like work at all, it all feels amazing,”

Aside from her age, Olivia is one of a very small percentage of female flyers, especially helicopter pilots, and says she’s happy to be a trailblazer for her gender.

She added: “There are a few female-orientated campaigns to increase the number of women in aviation and it’s great to be a part of that push.

“I couldn’t see myself as not being someone who flies helicopters and I’d like to be a role model for anyone who wants to do the same thing.”

Olivia sat her test on the day she became old enough to do so, which involved a two-hour navigation exercise between two airfields.

She had to show she could undertake all necessary pre-flight checks, plan her route and complete a number of maneuvers.

Olivia also dealt with a series of simulated emergencies, such as being able to land from altitude without any power from the engine, in the event of engine failure.

Olivia completed her learning at Arcus Helicopters, near Tollerton, Notts., flying a four-seater Robinson R44 helicopter under the watchful eye of instructors.

She had been traveling to Tollerton almost daily since March in order to build up her flying time.

She balanced her time in the air with revising hard for no fewer than the nine exams and a radio practical as part of her PPL.

Olivia added: “I remember the first time I lifted off while flying solo in a helicopter it felt unreal, but I told myself to keep my eyes on what’s going on.

“Then, when I got up to altitude and I thought about what I was doing, I giggled, because it was so amazing.

“I’ve studied really hard to get to this point. Flying helicopters is my passion now and it’s definitely what I want to do for a living.”

Olivia got into flying through her father, Andrew, who owns and flies his own helicopter.

After Olivia expressed an interest in learning to fly, he said he has encouraged her all the way.

Company director Andrew, 48, added: We’re all so proud of her, she’s broken all the records and although she’s surprised us by doing it so quickly, we never doubted her on the day.

“Olivia had always been a good learner and has an ability to absorb information really quickly.

“But she’s added to that by working extremely hard and this is her reward. We’ve seen her falling asleep with her books on her chest.

“I got my PPL(H) in 2016 and being able to fly a helicopter is amazing, but the exams are extremely hard.

“Olivia passed hers first time and she’s done everything far quicker than I did.

“It’s an incredible achievement. Olivia hasn’t even passed her driving test, yet here she is, a qualified helicopter pilot when she’s only just turned 17.”

    The post “Girl becomes youngest pilot to get helicopter license” appeared first on Zenger.

                Produced in association with SWNS Talker

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