At just 17 years of age, Elyot Harmston is the youngest person ever to take off on a solo flight from Goodwood Aerodrome in the school’s Piper Cub and is now well on his way to completing his Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (LAPL).
Harmston was first introduced to flying at a young age when he lived close to the end of Goodwood’s runway in Westhampnett. Watching the aircraft take off and come into land brought to life the tales of his great grandfather, who was an RAF serviceman and trained pilots overseas. Discovering that you could start flying lessons at 14 and fly solo at 16, Harmston fully immersed himself into Goodwood’s Flying School, having already enrolled in Chichester Squadron 461 Air Cadets.
Taking to the sky before he could legally drive a car, Harmston commented; “As I have a summer birthday, I wanted to start flying as soon as I could - my friends were all learning to drive, but I was learning to fly!”
His determination ensured that he was a regular at the Goodwood Flying School immersing himself in both the theory and the practical aspects of flying.
Harmston added; “Rob Wildeboer is a wonderful coach and has thoroughly taught me the principles of flying.
“A day I recall fondly was early on in my training when hearing a Boultbee Spitfire on the radio while coming from East Head back to Goodwood. We were lucky enough to be just underneath the aircraft as it flew back and we turned onto its tail as it passed us – it was phenomenal.”
In the build-up to the solo flight, nerves threatened to overwhelm him, but before his final lesson, his father surprised him with his great grandfather’s American Calobar flying sunglasses. This connection to the last generation of pilots in his family was an inspirational moment before taking to the cockpit in the Piper Cub for his much-anticipated solo flight.
Rob Wildeboer, Flying School Manager at Goodwood, commented; “Elyot has been brilliant throughout his training. It’s a testament to his dedication and attitude towards flying that he has achieved this major milestone in such a short space of time.”
Harmston, who aspires to fly Spitfires will continue his training in the coming months en route to achieving his LAPL.
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About Flying At Goodwood
The Goodwood Flying School provides tuition for those learning to fly, including the PPL, LAPL and FI student, as well as one-off flight experiences to suit a variety of budgets. A range of courses and training are tailored to an individual’s requirements with the team at Goodwood providing specialist flight instructor training from the first flight to advanced level.
Goodwood Aerodrome was originally created to assist the War effort. Known as RAF Westhampnett, the busy fighter station was active from July 1940 as a Battle of Britain airfield, through to May 1946. Now home to some 100 aircraft, a range of makes and models are available to learn to fly. Contact the Flying School today to find out more on 01243 755 066 or by visiting Goodwood.com/flying.
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