Oliver was gliding high on his first solo flight

From left to right: Peter Concannon, Oliver's flying instructor, Oliver Dudley-Heidkamp, Andrew Perkins, deputy chairman of the British Gliding Association and Mike Clark, chief flying instructor
From left to right: Peter Concannon, Oliver's flying instructor, Oliver Dudley-Heidkamp, Andrew Perkins, deputy chairman of the British Gliding Association and Mike Clark, chief flying instructor
  • Teenager, 14, flies 1,100ft above Haddenham for seven minutes – on his own!
  • Was able to fly alone after EU lowered legal age from 16 to 14
  • Parents are ‘extremely proud’ of youngster who enjoyed his first glider flight aged eight
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A young glider pilot celebrated his 14th birthday by launching into his first solo flight in a glider 1,100ft above an airfield in Haddenham.

Oliver Dudley-Heidkamp, of Churchill Crescent, Thame, flew the ASK-13 glider on his own for around seven minutes over the Upward Bound Trust’s airfield after a year and a half’s worth of training.

The youngster, who lives with dad Thomas, mother Christina and sister Danielle, seven, said: “It was amazing – like no other feeling I’ve ever had before.”

The Lord Williams’s School pupil has been interested in flying since the age of eight, when he first went up in a two-seater with his father.

Mr Dudley-Heidkamp said: “Learning to fly with the Trust has been a wonderful experience for Oliver and it has given him enormous confidence in himself. We are extremely proud of him.”

The teenager grasped the opportunity to get in the cockpit alone after new EU rules lowered the legal age for young people to fly solo from 16 to 14.

Oliver was presented with a certificate marking his achievement by Andrew Perkins, deputy chairman of the British Gliding Association.

Chief flying instructor Mike Clark said: “It is a great opportunity for young people to develop competence and judgement at a very young age.

“Flying an aircraft requires them to demonstrate enormous responsibility to ensure that they, and others, are safe together in the sky.

“Oliver has demonstrated that he can do this and I am delighted for him.”

It was amazing – like no other feeling I’ve ever had before.

Oliver Dudley-Heidkamp, young glider pilot