Kayla Smith is in seventh heaven after taking her first flight on Sunday as part of the Chris Middlebrook Flying Scholarship valued at $10,000.
Sponsored by Middlebrook Air Operations, the scholarship was established last year by Judy and Peter Middlebrook, in memory of their teenage son, Chris, a keen young pilot, who lost his life in a tragic car accident.
Kayla follows last year’s scholarship winner, Zac Crowhurst, who is now flying solo and working on his cross-country qualifications to become a private pilot.
Kayla was due for her first lesson with Gunnedah Pilot Training on Sunday but when it was cancelled due to a small equipment malfunction, Peter Middlebrook took her up for a flight and she “couldn’t be happier”.
“It was absolutely awesome – I loved it,” Kayla said.
“I have been keen on learning to fly since the Aero Club’s open day last year when I went up for a joy flight and I never would have had this chance without the scholarship.”
A Year 11 student at Gunnedah High School, Kayla is not sure if she will pursue flying as a career but she is keen to get started and secure her private pilot’s licence, hopefully within 12 months.
The training is offered every weekend by Gunnedah Pilot Training and will be carried out at Gunnedah Aerodrome in accordance with CASA regulations.
Students are required to join the Gunnedah Aero Club and contribute to the running of the club, including the maintenance of the club’s aircraft and ground facilities.
Gunnedah Aero Club became a certified Flying School, in December 2011, with the issuing of an Air Operator’s Certificate by CASA.
Gunnedah Pilot Training can train student pilots from beginners right up to license upgrades and renewals.
• For more information about the Gunnedah Aero Club
or Gunnedah Pilot Training, contact Harvey Stoneman on 0427 426 690.