A teenager who has been involved in hot balloon flying since she was young is believed to be one of the UK’s youngest hot air balloon pilots.
Katie Gower, from Wellingborough, first got started with her hobby when she was around 11 after her dad also got involved.
After years of hard work, flying lessons and five written exams, Katie was able to pick up her pilot licence on her seventeenth birthday.
The teenager said: “Initially getting involved was a way of being outdoors and of doing something nobody would think you would do.
“It is great to be able to say you do something really fun and it’s a really interesting hobby to have.”
As Katie was handed her licence back in October last year, she was told she was the youngest person to ever receive the accolade.
Since then, Katie, who is currently studying for her A-Levels, has continued gaining flying experience and has also been told by authorities that she is still believed to be one of the youngest people to get their hot air balloon pilot licence.
But it did not come easy, as Katie explained she had to complete 16-and-a-half hours of flying training, several assessed flights and five written exams all within two years.
She added: “I had quite a lot of experience from when I was younger so I was able to rely on that too.
“Now I have my licence I just want to see where the hobby takes me and to gain the experience to get out there more on my own.”
Although the hobby is seasonal and favours the summer months, Katie says it is still possible to fly in the winter as long as there is permission from the landowner.
Recently, despite some restrictions due to the pandemic, Katie has been flying every other weekend, which has enabled her to build experience with her new licence.
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