Boy, seven, becomes one of the youngest pilots in Britain

Baby Biggles! Boy, 7, who dreams of being an RAF pilot completes his first flying lesson in memory of his mother who died from breast cancer

  • Jacob Newson, seven, from Leeds, has completed his first ever flying lesson
  • He is now one of the youngest pilots in UK after flying a Piper PA-28 Cherokee
  • Jacob decided to do the lesson after losing his mother Andrea, 49, to cancer
  • His father Andrew, 53, faced his own fear of flying so his son could do the lesson
  • The father and son are also climbing Yorkshire’s highest peaks to raise money

A seven-year-old boy has become one of the youngest pilots in Britain after completing his first ever flying lesson. 

Jacob Newson, from Leeds, West Yorkshire, had his first flying lesson at White Waitham Airfield, in Maidenhead, under the watchful eye of his father Andrew, 53, who is an advanced emergency medical technician, and instructor Mark Green.

After tragically losing his mother Andrea, 49, to breast cancer in December, Jacob decided he wanted to go on his first flying lesson with his father, who conquered his fear of flying to help his son achieve his dream.

Jacob, who has loved planes and flying since he was a toddler and has previously fundraised for charities including the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, bravely took the controls of a Piper PA-28 Cherokee during his exciting first lesson.

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Jacob Newson, seven, from Leeds, West Yorkshire, has become one of the youngest pilots in Britain after completing his first ever flying lesson (pictured during lesson)

Jacob had his first flying lesson (pictured) at White Waitham Airfield, in Maidenhead, under the watchful eye of his father Andrew, 53, and instructor Mark Green

His father Andrew explained: ‘I have always been terrified of flying, so the plan was always for Andrea to go with him. But she passed away at the end of last year so I decided to take him myself.

‘All the way down there he was so excited and he loved the entire experience.

‘He was fascinated and mesmerised by being so high up in the air and looking down at the people and landmarks; he was a bit apprehensive when Mark said he could take the controls. But he held on to them for a little while with a big smile on his face.

‘We got up to about 3,000ft (914m) and he just put the controls in his hands and told him to be really gentle.

‘He thought he had officially become a pilot and as soon as we landed, he asked when we could go up again.’

Andrew said Jacob has always loved planes, explaining that he and Andrea visited the RAF Warrington air show while she was pregnant with Jacob and they joked that he would become a pilot after he ‘kicked’ when a plane flew past.

 Jacob, who has loved planes and flying since he was a toddler (above), bravely took the controls of a Piper PA-28 Cherokee during his exciting first lesson


After losing his mother Andrea, 49, to breast cancer in December, Jacob (above) decided to go on his first flying lesson with his father (left), who conquered his fear of flying to help his son 

Andrew said Andrea (both pictured), who was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2019, would have been ‘blown away’ by Jacob’s achievements if she was still alive

He continued: ‘Before Jacob was born, we used to visit the RAF Warrington air show every year and when we visited whilst Andrea was pregnant with Jacob. She said he was really kicking when the plane flew, so we joked from that moment that he would become a pilot.

‘When he was born, we got him a little flying suit and he just became more and more interested in aviation from there.

‘He first began fundraising in 2019 and he managed to raise £6,500 for the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, which led to him being invited to a lot of different RAF air bases.’

Andrew said after his first fundraiser they had offers from private pilots to take Jacob flying, but they wanted to wait because they were worried that he was ‘too young’ and it would ‘scare him’.

‘We wanted to wait a while but over the past few weeks, he’s been really keen on doing it,’ he said. 

Due to his son’s persistent interest, Andrew finally agreed to take the seven-year-old on his first ever flying lesson, which has made Jacob one of the youngest pilots in the UK.

And Jacob shows no signs of slowing down as he plans to climb Yorkshire’s three highest peaks – Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough – with his father later this year.

They are taking on the challenge to raise money for St Gemma’s Hospice in Leeds following the death of Jacob’s mother Andrea in December last year from breast cancer.

Andrew gushed that Andrea, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2019, would have been ‘blown away’ by Jacob’s achievements if she was still alive.

Andrew said they had offers from private pilots to take Jacob flying, but they wanted to wait because they were worried that he was ‘too young’ and it would ‘scare him’


Andrew said he and Andrea visited the RAF Warrington air show while she was pregnant with Jacob and they joked that he would become a pilot after he ‘kicked’ when a plane flew past

Andrew admitted that he was ‘really nervous’ to take Jacob to the airfield and face his fear of flying, but said his joy for his son quickly distracted him

He continued: ‘We have always been so proud of Jacob’s achievements and everything he has done.

‘If his mum was still alive, she would have been blown away by it all and so proud that he managed to complete his first ever flying lesson.

‘She was so proud of him and was amazed by his love for the RAF.’

Andrew admitted that he was ‘really nervous’ to take Jacob to the airfield and face his fear of flying, but said his joy for his son quickly distracted him. 

He explained: ‘I was really nervous driving to the airfield because it’s one of my biggest fears, but the whole event took over and I was just so happy for Jacob that it distracted me from being worried.

‘Since this journey started, we have become a lot closer and I’m so happy I get to watch him complete all of these amazing things that Andrea dreamed of him doing one day.’

To donate to Jacob’s campaign, visit: justgiving.com/fundraising/jacob-newson1

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