Sharjah: At just 14 years old, a Sharjah teenager has become one of the youngest pilots to fly a single-engine aircraft.
Indian expat Mansour Anis, a Grade 9 student at Delhi Private School in Sharjah, received a certificate for his first solo flight from an aviation academy in Canada last week.
“Let it be known throughout the aviation world that Mansour Anis at the age of 14 years successfully took off and landed from Langley Regional Airport thereby accomplishing his first solo flight,” the solo flight certificate issued by AAA Aviation Flight Academy on August 30 stated.
Back in the UAE after his achievement, Mansour claimed that he had also set a record of being the youngest pilot to fly solo with the least number of training hours.
“He broke the previous record of a 15-year-old German pilot and a 14-year-old US pilot who took 34 hours of training. Mansour flew solo just after 25 hours of training,” Mansour’s father Ali Asgar Anis told Gulf News on Wednesday.
Ali, a civil engineer heading the engineering department at Zulekha Hospital, said he had sent his son along with his wife Munira, a chemistry teacher with Wesgreen International School, to Canada for the training session during the summer holidays.
In some countries, like the US and UK, a person has to be at least 16 years old before taking to the air on their own. In the UAE and India, the pilot has to be at least 18 to be eligible to fly. However, in Canada, 14 is the minimum age for student pilots to join the course and try flying after meeting the requirements.
“Since he turned 14 in June, we decided to take him to Canada for setting this record,” said Munira.
She said her brother Qaid Faizy, a pilot with Jet Airways in Inida, has been an inspiration for Mansour since his childhood.
Fascinated about flying
“I got fascinated about flying the plane because of my uncle. He has been my inspiration and he has envisioned me to become a commercial pilot after I turn 18,” said Mansour.
When he was about eight years, Mansour received a flight simulator as a gift from his uncle. “I learnt some basic lessons using that. My uncle has also given me and my sister the chance to visit the cockpit of an aircraft in which we flew once.”
His uncle also allowed Mansour to sit with his sister Mariya, a medicine student in Mauritius, when she once flew a Cessna aircraft at an aviation school in India, where the former used to teach, around four years ago.
Mansour, who also flew a Cessna 152 aircraft during his solo flight, now has a student pilot permit. Apart from the flying test, he has also passed a radio communication test and scored 96 per cent in the PSTAR Test, an eligibility test for Transport Canada.
It was chief flying instructor at the AAA Academy Robert Wickins who trained Mansour during his course.
“He used to brief me about how the plane works. He taught me how to turn the aircraft. Then we went for some exercises like stall, spin, spiral dive etc. I was scared at first... but then it was fun. Also he had assured me nothing would go wrong and we can control the aircraft.”
Mansour’s solo flight was about 10-minutes long, during which he taxied the aircraft from the parking bay to the runway, took off for a flight of about five minutes and landed back.
“The aircraft was really light because the instructor’s weight was not there. The plane was in the air a bit faster. I was excited and a little nervous.
"After I took off, I concentrated on flying how I did with the instructor. Everything happened very quickly,” said Mansour, who is now on cloud nine about his achievement.
“I am planning to go again to Canada next year to continue flying. If I don’t continue I will forget everything. At 16 years, I will take a recreational pilot permit. At 17, I will take private pilot license and at 18, I will take a commercial pilot license,” said the boy for whom the sky is not the limit.