Derbyshire pupil qualifies as commercial pilot – making him one of the youngest in the UK

Growing up near East Midlands Airport meant that when Lachlan Fairman-Smith was a boy he had his head in the clouds – dreaming of one day becoming an airline pilot.

By Julia Rodgerson
Thursday, 24th March 2022, 11:55 am

Last week, the former Long Eaton School pupil qualified as a commercial airline pilot and at just 20 years old is one of the youngest in the country.

Lachlan, who grew up in Shardlow, received his license to fly passenger planes after completing months of training in Spain – and 200 hours in the air - passing with flying colours.

Now he has moved back to the UK and is looking for a job with a budget airline, with sky high ambitions to one day fly long haul with British Airways.

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Lachlan Fairman-Smith

Lachlan said: “I grew up near the airport and spent a lot of time watching planes taking off and landing, it’s always been my dream for as long as I can remember.

“I had toy planes and used to go on a walk around the perimeter of the airport with my Dad. My Grandad was in the air force as an engineer, so planes have always been a part of my life.

“I moved to Malaga to do my training simply because it’s cheaper in Spain and the cost of living is cheaper too. It took me longer than it should have done because of the pandemic and I flew back to England just before lockdown so I could spent it with my family.

“I did A-Level Spanish when I was in the sixth form at The Long Eaton School, so that definitely helped while I was living out there, but luckily all the exams were in English. It was a lovely place to live, but it’s nice to come home.”

Growing up near East Midlands Airport meant that when Lachlan Fairman-Smith was a boy he had his head in the clouds – dreaming of one day becoming an airline pilot.

Lachlan first took to the skies during a flying lesson at East Midlands Airport when he was 15 years old in a two-seater single engine light aircraft. This was the launchpad for planning a career in the skies, and three years later Lachlan moved to Spain to pursue his dream.

During his training he passed a number of exams including instrument training and navigation. Now he is looking forward to flying a Boeing 737, which holds up to 200 passengers, and taking his family up in the air, having previously only flown with friends on board.

He said: “When I fly back home from Spain it seems strange being a passenger, but I prefer it now I understand what’s going on. Before my training I might hear a noise and wonder what it was. But now, nine times out of ten, I understand what’s happening and that it’s nothing to worry about.

“I’m really excited about the next stage in my career and getting some hours under my belt flying bigger planes. I can’t wait!”

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