Stuart reaches for sky at 15
STUART Kearney is Rockhampton's latest claim to fame.
Last week, aged 15 years and four months, he became the youngest registered recreational pilot in Australia.
And he is still on cloud nine after passing his sports pilot's licence at his first attempt.
"It's a bit of an achievement I guess, yeah,'' a flu-ridden Stuart said from the Mt Jim Crow airfield yesterday.
His father, John, received confirmation on Wednesday that Stuart was the youngest pilot on Recreational Aviation Australia's register.
Stuart said his interest in flying began at an early age through the humble paper plane.
He had his first ride in a glider with his father at Dululu, aged 11.
"Dad's a pilot and so was his dad so I guess it runs in the family,'' Stuart said.
Stuart said his dream had always been to become a jet fighter pilot.
Problem is, the ejection seats in that type of aircraft require a pilot to be 193cm.
Stuart is 193.5cm and presumably still growing. I asked him whether he blamed his parents for his height.
"No, I blame the hormones being pumped into chickens,'' Stuart swiftly replied.
Before sitting for his licence, Stuart had 20 hours flying time with an instructor and six hours solo time.
"My first solo was interesting when the instructor climbed out of the airplane.
"It was pretty scary.''
If Stuart grows too tall to become a jet fighter pilot he hopes to either get a physics degree or gain employment in defence research.