Student licence gives teen’s dream wings

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ND PILOT3 (27457749) INLSA Sixteen-year-old Ashton Loganathan, of Morningside, received his student pilots licence last week. The Grade 11 pupil achieved more than 90 percent in his examinations. Picture: Puri Devjee

Durban - A teen is too young to get a driver’s licence, but that has not stopped his dreams from taking off.

Last week, 16-year-old Ashton Loganathan, of Morningside, received his student pilot’s licence.

“I have no more words to explain my happiness. Throughout my childhood I have been fascinated by planes, I even started researching on them,” Ashton said.

He said his licence test flight, from Virginia Airport to Mthatha (Umtata), was the most enjoyable moment of his life.

The Grade 11 Durban High School pupil, who began his flying lessons in January, excelled, achieving more than 90 percent in his examinations.

His parents, Preggy and Sharon, funded lessons, examinations, and the licence which cost more than R380 000. This includes his commercial pilot licence, which he is expected to pass by November next year.

Sharon was ecstatic, describing her son as dedicated and self-disciplined. He is a Sunday school teacher at his church, where he also participates as a pianist in the band.

Ashton plans to qualify as a commercial pilot when he finishes school and said his second choice would be working as an aeronautical engineer.

Asked how he managed to juggle schoolwork and his passion, he replied: “I achieved this by focusing on my studies on weekends and flight lessons during holidays.”

In December, Ashton is looking forward to taking the seat of the second officer on a SAA return flight from Johannesburg to New York, which he said was a step towards making his dream come true.

Luc Auguston, operation quality manager at the Durban Aviation Centre, where Ashton was tested, spoke highly of the youngster.

“He is a very focused and dedicated, brave youngster and he will go solo shortly,” Auguston said.

Ashton cannot wait: “The moment I enjoyed the most was when the plane hit turbulence on landing. I was not shaken at all, it has been my dream to become a pilot.” - Daily News

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