A south Canterbury teenager has broken the unofficial and little-known world record for the amount of flights flown on his 16th birthday.
Ross Brodie flew 16 aircraft on the first day that he was legally allowed to fly solo, beating the old record by two flights.
It was a birthday that Ross had been dreaming about for more than a decade.
“It was a real thrill knowing that my childhood dream really had just been achieved, something I’d been waiting for my whole life,” he says. “It was very special.”
“I’m a fourth-generation pilot now, my great-grandfather, also named Ross, he flew in the First World War. My grandfather was flying in the ‘50s and my father is of course a flying instructor.”
Ross’ achievement took years of training and dedication leading up to the big day, when he had to fly some single-seaters for the first time.
“It was a big day,” father Russell Brodie says. “It was a really big day but I couldn’t be more proud. He did it just as well as I thought he would – even better maybe.”
Lots of friends gathered at the airfield with many bringing their own aircraft for Ross to fly, but for Ross, it was flying his father’s Tiger Moth which was one of the most memorable moments of the day.
“It’s dad’s pride and joy and to be honest, compared to some of the other planes, I hadn’t done a lot of flying in it, I knew I could fly it, but there was just this little niggle in the back of my mind ‘what if’.”
However, his early fears were unfounded as the flight turned out to be one of Ross’ best landings of the day.
Among the craft that he flew were several microlights. The oldest was a 1980s Quicksilver. The others included a Cessna 150, a CF Shadow, a Jabiru, a Stol , and a Pioneer 2000. The final flight of the day was in what Ross refers to as a “rag and tube” microlight, with a lawn mower engine.
Ross has his sights set on a future career in aviation; and is determined to push himself to see how far he can go.
“The sky’s the limit really. We’ll see what happens.”