A Penzance man is a step closer to achieving his dream of flying after being awarded a sponsorship grant.
Jake Matthews an experienced glider pilot has been given £2,000 from Geoffrey de Havilland Flying Foundation (GdeHFF) which will enable him to train to fly motored planes for the first time.
The 20-year-old, who is a member of Seahawk Gliding Club based at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, obtained his solo glider pilot’s license in record time and is ready to take the next step.
Jake, along with fellow glider Jordan Richards who was also awarded sponsorship, will travel to Bristol to conduct training at the Enstone Aerodrome.
The duo will have to complete nine ground exams and 13 hours of flying to gain their National Private Pilot’s License, enabling them to fly as a tug pilot providing tow launches for other gliders.
“We can’t quite believe it. Without this help we would not have been able to take this major step in our flying careers,” said Jake.
Currently studying Social Science at Truro College, Jake hopes he will soon be accepted to the Navy to train as a pilot and is eager to get his flying hours up.
“Ever since I was little I loved planes. The Air Cadets spurred me on; I got a lot of opportunities with them.”
The former Humphry Davy pupil regularly flies around Penzance and Newlyn, sometimes travelling distances of up to 100km.
Jake has taken to specialising in aerobatics, which sees him twirling, looping and stalling the glider mid-flight at speeds of up to 150MPH.
“It takes an incredible amount of skill. I used to be quite air sick, but I pushed myself and got over it. It’s just awesome. It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t been up there. It’s so quiet, there’s no engine noise, just the sound of the air.
“Now I have become a bit more experienced I have time to enjoy myself. I can relax and enjoy the views.”
Jake is in high demand from his friends to take him on trips, but he said gliding is not a hugely accessible pastime in Cornwall.
“There are a very small number of people. I probably know every single glider pilot under the age of 24 in the county.”
Jake and Jordan hope to do some local fundraising as a thank you to GdeHFF for their sponsorship.