NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Ruari Tait, 14, becomes Scotland's youngest solo glider pilot

Image copyright British Gliding Association

A teenager has become the youngest person ever to pilot a glider solo in Scotland after taking the controls alone on his 14th birthday.

Ruari Tait has been training to pilot gliders since September 2014. The law changed in 2012 to allow 14-year-olds to fly alone.

The Gordonstoun pupil took to the skies at the Highland Gliding Club near Elgin, Moray.

The British Gliding Association said Ruari's first flight was a success.

Ruari was taught by grandfather Jim, who has been gliding for 56 years and founded the club where the record breaking flight took place.

The teenager is the third of his siblings to glide solo as a teenager - while his father, Robert, did the same on his 16th birthday, the earliest allowed at the time.

On Wednesday Robert towed Ruari to an altitude of 2,000ft before releasing him for his first lone flight.

Image copyright British Gliding Association
Image caption Ruari prepares for his flight

The record comes less than two years after Ruari and his father were involved in a mid-air collision, forcing them to bail out and parachute to the ground.

Robert was competing in the UK Mountain Soaring Championships over the Cairngorms when the crash occurred.

Both landed safely and were undeterred by their experience.

Speaking ahead of his flight, Ruari said: "I am ready for this challenge and looking forward to it."

Keith Auchterlonie, of the British Gliding Association, said: "I'm delighted that Ruari Tait made a successful first solo glider flight today, on his 14th birthday, becoming the first person in Scotland ever to achieve a solo flight at the very youngest age allowed by law."

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