Britain's youngest flying instructor wins fight to stay in the country

Britain’s youngest flying instructor, 19, wins fight to stay in the country to help people learn to fly – even though he has to rely on friends to drive him to the aerodrome

  • Kathan Dudhela, 19, is now a licensed flight instructor at London Elstree Aviation
  • However, Kathan was nearly forced to leave the country when his visa expired
  • His passion for planes blossomed while watching aircrafts leave his home airport in Gujarat, India 
  • Kathan began learning to fly while still at school and doing a paper round
  • He relies on lifts from his students to get to the aerodrome as he cannot drive

A 19-year-old who was nearly forced to leave the country has become the UK’s youngest ever flight instructor – before he can even drive.

Kathan Dudhela became a flight instructor two years after earning his wings as a schoolboy.

His passion for planes blossomed while watching aircrafts leave his home airport as a three-year-old in Gujarat, India.

Kathan Dudhela (pictured) has become the UK’s youngest ever flight instructor at 19 years old

He came to the UK in 2010 with his parents and aimed to earn his pilot’s licence as soon as possible, completing his dream at the age of 17.

Now he is a licensed flight instructor at London Elstree Aviation, despite almost being forced to leave the country when he left school when his visa expired.

He said: ‘The Home Office allowed my parents and my little brother to stay, but they said to me ‘You have to go back home’.

‘I had just completed my pilot licence, which is not recognised in other countries, not in India.

‘I appealed against it, I took them to court and, in the court, it was successful. I got my residency.

‘One thing I learned was that if you want to do something, if you put 102 per cent into it, you’ll definitely get it.

Kathan’s passion for planes blossomed while watching aircrafts leave his home airport in Gujarat, India

The 19-year-old relies on lifts from his students to get to the aerodrome as he cannot drive

‘When I decided to become an instructor, I enquired at lots of places. Once you know what you want to do, you have to find a way that is right for you.

Kathan began learning to fly while still at school and doing a paper round, starting his days as early as 4.30am.

He would go from Wembley to central London to start his work, before travelling to Uxbridge for school and then taking flight classes after he finished studying.

‘Sometimes I had to flunk my A-level lessons to go for flight training,’ he said.

‘The instructor would phone me up and say ‘Kathan, the weather is perfect for today. Today is the only good day of the week’.

‘And I would say ‘Yeah, I’m coming along’. I’d miss my last lesson or something like that.’

Kathan began learning to fly while still at school and doing a paper round, starting his days as early as 4:30am

Since becoming a flight instructor last year Kathan has had to deal with students more than three times his age being sceptical of his abilities.

He still relies on lifts to the aerodrome from his students, having failed his first driving test last week.

He said: ‘When I do trial lessons, sometimes people turn up at the flight school and they ask me if I’m sure I am the instructor and not my dad.

‘One actually asked me to pull out my licence.’

He is currently studying for his airline transport pilot licence, and aims to become a Red Bull Air Race pilot one day.

 

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