Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us
Club's youngest solo pilot proves a high flier
TWO years before he can get behind the wheel of a car, George Barrett has flown into a gliding club’s history book.
The 15-year-old became the youngest person in Oxford Gliding Club’s 75-year history to fly solo.
The chance came after gliding rules were changed on October 7 reducing the minimum age for flying solo from 16 to 14 in line with the rest of Europe.
George only took up the sport two months ago after watching his grandfather Graham Barrett, who lives in Kidlington, flying gliders for years.
George’s older sister Kayleigh also completed a gliding course for her Duke of Edinburgh award.
George, a Bicester Community College pupil, got his karate black belt aged 12, and last year reached 2nd Dan with Southern Shotokan Karate Group.
George took-off and landed at Weston-on-the-Green airfield, where the club is based. He reached 2,000ft and was up for about 10 minutes and flew a circuit above the village.
He said: “I’ve been going to Oxford Gliding Club since I was born as the family have been going there for many years, and I have been learning to fly since the summer.
“It’s amazing knowing that I’m the youngest person in Oxford Gliding Club history to go solo and it makes me feel very proud and happy.
“It was an amazing experience to fly solo I was very nervous on my own but so pleased to have achieved this.
“My grampy got me interested as he has been at Oxford Gliding Club since 1958 after going solo with the Air Cadets.”
George is also a member of Bicester’s 2507 Squadron Air Training Cadets, but does not fly with the group.
His parents Di and Adrian Barrett, of Mulberry Drive, Bicester, said they were proud of their son.
Mr Barrett said: “We knew it was going to happen but didn’t think quite so quickly.
“It was very nerve racking seeing your child taking off, flying around and landing a glider when he’s not even allowed to drive.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for kids to get into, and Oxford Gliding Club is a great friendly place to learn.”
Next May the club, which has about 100 members, will celebrate its 75th anniversary.
The British Gliding Association said George was one of six under 16s to do a solo glider flight so far in the UK.