The Managing Director of The Mustard Agency, Paul Sample, fulfilled a boyhood dream when he flew a ten minute "solo" for the first time at Old Sarum Airfield last weekend. He started training for his Private Pilot's Licence at Old Sarum in July.
After flying for just over 12 hours dual instruction, and with a series of successful circuits and practised emergency landings behind him, Paul was sent off on his first solo in an Ikarus C-42 aircraft.
He has already successfully completed all but one of his ground exams and now needs to pass his navigation exam and get his radio operators licence - which he expects to achieve over Christmas.
Flying is in the blood. Paul's grandfather, Leslie, was a private pilot and flew a Robinson Redwing with Wiltshire Aeroplane Club from High Post in the 1930s. Paul's great cousin, Flight Lieutenant John King, was killed while flying a combat mission in an F-86 Sabre over North Korea in June 1953. Another of Paul's relatives, S/Ldr. John Sample DFC, commanded a squadron of Hurricanes (504 Squadron) during the Battle of Britain.
Paul Sample said: "I'm delighted to have achieved this boyhood dream. It has been a bit intimidating to grow up in the shadow of great pilots. But I've always thought that if they could do it, so could I. Going solo is only part of my training, but it is an important milestone - marking the transition from pupil to pilot. I'm looking forward to completing my exams, getting my licence and flexing my wings early next year.
"Old Sarum is a wonderful airfield from which to fly, with some great landscape and lovely countryside to see from the air. The clubhouse is very welcoming and there is a real comradeship among the pilots - all helping each other out. With the recent arrival of the parachute club, there has been a big influx of young people and visitors to Old Sarum. I couldn't have picked a better place to fly."
Paul is pictured with his flying instructor Mark McLelland, from Airsport UK, which is based at Old Sarum.