At 14, Sharjah boy flies plane solo, breaks world record

Bernd Debusmann Jr. (Chief Reporter)/Dubai Filed on September 6, 2017 | Last updated on September 6, 2017 at 03.39 pm
At 14, Sharjah boy flies plane solo, breaks world record

(Supplied photo)

On August 30, Mansoor took to the cockpit for his first solo flight in a Cessna 152.

With just 25 hours of training, a boy born and raised in Sharjah has recently become one of the youngest pilots in the world, taking the helm of an airplane by himself at just 14 years of age.

The boy, DPS Sharjah student Mansoor Anis, began 'training' at the age of seven, when he was introduced to a computer flight simulator by his New Delhi-based maternal uncle, himself a professional pilot working for an India-based private airline.

"With the simulation software, he (the uncle) began training me how to fly a plane," he told Khaleej Times. "Since then I've had an interest in it."

At the age of 13, Mansoor decided that he wanted to pursue flying as a career, and less than a year later travelled to Canada with his mother to begin training at the AAA Aviation Flight Academy in the city of Langley, which is located in British Columbia.

According to Mansoor, the academy's chief flight instructor (CFI) was at first reluctant to take on such a young student, but quickly noticed Mansoor's keen understanding of what flying an aircraft entails.

"At first, the CFI wasn't ready to take me. But after my first flight, he was very excited to teach me because he found that I knew much and learned fast," he said. "But it wasn't so easy. Flying is a different feeling than the simulator.

"What I had learned from my uncle helped me a lot," Mansoor added. "For example, there were some theoretical things, like with the instruments, that he had taught me to use beforehand."

On August 30, Mansoor took to the cockpit for his first solo flight in a Cessna 152.

"I was a little nervous, but I was ready to fly. I was excited," he said. "The flight was about 10 or 12 minutes. I was most nervous about the landing. It's really tough. It had taken me much time to learn how to land properly."

Having returned to Sharjah earlier this week, Mansoor said he's been overwhelmed with the positive response he has received from his friends and family.

"My family was really proud of me, and my friends were really happy for me," he said. "They now want to see me in school."

Mansoor's father Ali Asgar Anis said he was brimming with pride at his son's achievement.

"I am really very proud of him, and I feel like I'm in the sky. It's a fantastic feeling for me. I don't even have words," he said.

According to Mansoor and his family, Mansoor has broken the record for the least amount of training time taken by a young pilot before his solo flight, shattering the previous records of 34 hours.

Ali added that the family has already filled out the forms necessary for to be included in the Limca Book of Records, which celebrates the achievements of Indian nationals in India and abroad.

In the future, Mansoor said he has no doubt that he will take up flying professionally.

"I want to be an airline pilot," he noted. "My dream airlines are Emirates and Etihad."

Mansoor also had a bit of advice for other young people interesting in taking to the skies.

"When flying, you actually don't need to be scared. It's fun," he said. "You don't need to give up easily."


Bernd Debusmann Jr.

Originally from Mexico City, I've been in Dubai since January 2015. Before arriving in in the UAE I worked as a general news reporter in TV and print in Mexico City, NYC and Washington DC. I'm interested in defence issues, politics, technology, aviation and history. In my spare time i enjoy traveling and football - I'm a keen fan of Chelsea FC. I developed an interest in the Middle East traveling through Jordan and the West Bank. I have a BA in Political Science from Dickinson College in the USA and an MA in International Journalism from City University London.

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