Captain Angela Sargent/Comox Cadet Flying Training Centre First Glider Solo – Cadet Nicholas Lourens is congratulated by his instructor Lyra Hindricks.

Not too young to take flight

Nicholas Lourens can’t drive a car, but can pilot a plane solo

Shuswap air cadet Nicholas Lourens was greeted with excited applause when he landed his glider at Comox Cadet Flying training Centre after his first solo flight.

He is the first cadet on this year’s glider pilot course to complete a solo flight and he is the second youngest cadet by one day.

Lourens, 15, has been a member of 222 Shuswap Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron for almost four years. He wanted to pilot a plane since he was three-years-old, which is why he joined cadets.

He face is flushed with pride and excitement as he completes the inevitable paperwork and hands it over to his proud instructor. Civilian instructor Lyra Hindrichs understands his elation – she was a cadet here not so long ago and has carefully coached Lourens in his training.

Lourens was happy to fly the glider on his own.

“I felt so excited. I have been looking forward to this day since I was three. It was nice not having someone looking over your shoulder,” he grins. “I could look around… sightsee a bit.”

He looks inward for a moment and says, “There is something inside me. I just gotta fly!”

At 15, Lourens is not eligible for a driver’s license but by the end of this summer he is hoping to have earned his glider pilot licence.

There are 24 cadets currently undergoing training for a glider pilot licence at the Comox Cadet Flying training Centre.