by STACEY HEANEY
who flew into the record books
on his 16th birthday as Ulster's
youngest solo pilot.
GOOD Friday turned out to be a great Friday
for local boy Conor Irvine, as he flew into the record books as
the youngest person in Ulster to pilot a plane solo.
The Ballinderry teenager, who has flown with
the Ulster Flying Club for two years, took his first solo flight
on his 16th birthday to see him fly into the record hooks.
Conor had already passed his Air Law exam
before his birthday on Friday April 6 and he was all set to take
to the skies, as long as the weather was kind to him.
And a beautiful, clear day saw a delighted
Conor pilot the plane alone as he flew solo over Strangford and
Conor said, "It was weird the first time but
I've done it so many times it just comes naturally. I did a few
circuits around the Newtownards Peninsula, which was about 10
miles and I've been up three or four times now."
Conor says he would 'love to be a commercial
pilot' and says he developed his love of flying after being
given a gift voucher.
' When I was 14 I was given a gift voucher
and after that I got a few lessons and developed a love of
flying," he said. "You have to be 16 to go solo so it's pretty
good to go into the record books, it's a nice achievement."
Conor's instructor Steve Zani was also
delighted with his achievement, he said, "He's young but he's
not exactly small and he's very sharp for 16. He was probably
ready to go solo a year ago but it is age restricting, by law
you can't go up any younger but he was definately ready. His
father was more nervous than he was, much more nervous.
"It was booked six months in advance but it
is subject to the weather, not many people get to go up on their
birthday but luckily it was a beautiful day so it all worked out