An ex-head boy at Long Stratton High School will swap gliding the Norfolk skies for flying passenger planes all over the world, after he was chosen as a future pilot by British Airways.
Ed Eveson, aged 20, from Pulham Market, jetted off to New Zealand on Wednesday to train to become a commercial airline pilot, as one of only 72 to be selected from more than 3,000 applicants for the major airline’s Future Pilot Scheme.
A long-time member of Norfolk Gliding Club, Ed will receive 15 months of practical flying training and school studies, and within two years could be a First Officer with Airbus A320 aircraft travelling from international airports like Heathrow and Gatwick.
He praised the gliding club, which operates from Tibenham Airfield, for their help growing his piloting skills in the last six years.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for me and a chance to develop the love I have for flying into a career too,” he said.
“I’ve been a glider pilot at Tibenham since I was 14. It was a great way to start and to show my interest in aviation at an early stage.
“Members of the Club and pilots of powered aircraft based there have been very supportive over the years and helped me a lot.”
Ed, who studied A-levels at Wymondham High Academy, first took to the skies as part of his activities with Diss Air Cadets when he was a teenager, and would go on to receive multiple qualifications and a Royal Aero Club Trust bursary for his gliding.
Prior to being picked for the British Airways programme, which involved an intensive three-month selection process, he worked with KLM Engineering at Norwich International Airport.
Peter Eveson, Ed’s father, told the Diss Express: “He has been so focussed in his goal over the years that he has been able to secure that placement at a very young age when most of his contemporaries are still at university.
“Unusually you don’t need a degree for such a high profile job, just the right mixture of qualifications and character.
“We are very proud of him and hope his training in New Zealand will be a great experience for him.”