A 15-year-old boy who dreams of being a professional pilot has been awarded a bursary to help achieve his goal.

Aidan McDonald first flew solo in July last year aged 14 following training from Southdown Gliding Club, Storrington.

He joined the club in 2021 and hopes to become a volunteer gliding instructor before potentially going into a career as a pilot.

The Steyning Grammar School pupil has been awarded a bursary from AirlinePrep which offers coaching and advice to both experienced and aspiring pilots.

The Argus: A glider is towed into the air by one of Southdown’s tow planesA glider is towed into the air by one of Southdown’s tow planes (Image: David Clews)

Aidan said: “I am so happy to have been awarded the AirlinePrep bursary. The bursary will help me achieve my flying goals this year which are to achieve my bronze badge and introductory flight pilot rating.  I would like to thank Southdown and AirlinePrep for the opportunity and support.”

Aidan’s parents Stuart and Kerryn said: “We are very proud of Aidan and extremely grateful for the support and guidance he has received from all the instructors and members at Southdown.”

AirlinePrep offered the bursary to help a club member develop their own flying skills, ideally for the benefit of the club and its wider membership.

Southdown Gliding Club was founded in 1930 and is one of the oldest gliding clubs in the UK.