My name is Kathan Dudhela, I am currently UK’s youngest flight instructor and the world’s youngest flight examiner.
My dream for aviation started when I was just three years old back in India, when my father used to take me to a local airport now and again to drop relatives off. I used to sit on the balcony and watch the aeroplanes fly in and out. I found it fascinating and wondered how they managed to stay airborne and defy gravity.
I moved to London in 2010 and during my school holidays, I used to go to Heathrow airport and watch those jets depart and arrive as well as ask pilots how they got into commercial flying.
I joined the air cadets aged 14 and at 17, I started my Private Pilot Licence and passed my GCSEs. I studied hard and at the same time I worked an early morning paper round to fund the flying training.
In 2018 I passed my Licence Skills Test for my Private Pilot Licence. I was over the moon. All that hard work had paid off. The dream from when I was young was complete and I was now a Pilot!
I decided to do some work experience at London Elstree Aerodrome. The work involved moving aeroplanes in and out of hangars. I was also refuelling helicopters that flew in and out of Elstree. After six months and handing out plenty of CVs, one flight instructor named David Smith got in touch about a role as an Operations Manager. Whilst I didn’t have any experience in managing a flight school, I accepted the job and started working the very next day. I had to manage bookings, schedule aeroplane maintenance, create trial lesson vouchers and had to deal with customers. Fortunately, I was able to continue flying and build my experience by ferrying aeroplanes for maintenance and fly with friends sharing the cost.
Summer was approaching and I had managed to fly 200 hours, allowing me to commence a Flight Instructor rating. I embarked on the course in June 2019 and completed it by July 2019 – making me the UK’s Youngest Flight Instructor at the age of 19! After flying 1,000 hours, I decided
to also become a Flight Examiner and Ground Examiner. I’m currently working as a Flight Instructor/Flight Examiner at London Elstree Aerodrome and am looking forward to upcoming events to inspire and educate future pilots. I also ferry planes in and around the UK and Europe.
I aspire to become a Commercial Pilot as well as get my Aerobatics rating and compete in the Red Bull world championship. I also hope to compete in the handicap air racing in the UK.