A TEENAGER has become the youngest person in the country to receive a full gyroplane flying license.

Ben Morton from Kirkbride has achieved the license aged just 17.

A gyroplane, also known as an autogyro, is a type of rotorcraft that uses an unpowered rotor in free autorotation to develop lift. Forward thrust is provided independently, by an engine-driven propeller.

In simpler terms, thanks to his instructor Chris Jones, it is something of a motorbike for the sky, a leisure aircraft that are popular in the area, and also popular for retired airline pilots to reignite their passion for aviation, as well as a popular tourist activity where people can take a flying tour of the fells in the tiny aircrafts.

News and Star: Ben MortonBen Morton

Ben passed the five ground school exams necessary for the license, learned to fly the gyroplane with Chief Flying Instructor Chris Jones, and then he had to fly for ten hours solo, which included two flights across the country to another airfield.

Chris, who has been an instructor for many years, explained that the cross country flight involved him flying from the airfield in Kirkbride to Hexham, requesting a proper landing there, and then taking off from Hexham to fly back to base at Kirkbride, no easy task for a pilot in training and examination.

He then underwent a final flight test with CAA examiner David Beevers and was said to have passed with flying colours.

News and Star: Ben Morton

All of this achievement in aviation was before he has even learned to drive.

He can now legally fly to another airport, have a driving lesson, and then fly home.

Mr Morton now has his eyes fixed on becoming a Gyroplane Flying Instructor and taking over the flying school at Kirkbride Airfield.

His Instructor Chris Jones said: "It's great to see someone with a set goal in life and with such determination and after good few more hours of flying.

"I'm sure Ben will make a great instructor."