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British Airways hands 21-year-old dream job as a pilot
He is barely old enough to drive a car, let along a 50-tonne aircraft.

But youngster Jonathan Irwin has become one of the country's youngest pilots ever to fly passengers on a commercial jet after being offered a job with British Airways at the age of 21.

Mr Irwin, from Yorkshire, recently joined the airline as a First Officer, and will be assigned to fly an Airbus A320 aircraft from Gatwick Airport. He is scheduled to fly on short-haul routes across Europe.

Mr Irwin, from Yorkshire, recently joined British Airways as a First Officer, and will be assigned to fly an Airbus A320 aircraft from Gatwick Airport

Mr Irwin's family said that being a pilot had been Jonathan's dream since he was just 11 years old.

He was just 16 when he piloted a glider solo and has since spent five years training with the Air Training Corps 168 Leeds.

Mr Irwin's father Paul said that his son is now dreaming of becoming a Captain.

'Ever since he was 11, Jonathan wanted to become a pilot,' he said.

'We're not an aviation family and he decided to go for it on his own. He's living his dream and he is absolutely loving it.

'We are absolutely delighted. It is a difficult profession and he has worked extremely hard. It's worth it to help pursue his dream and to see him happy.'

According to the UK Civil Aviation Authority, the minimum age to be licensed for a commercial pilot's license is 18 if the pilot has earned an EASA Part-FCL Class 1 Medical Certificate and has met the training requirements.

Paul added: 'If anyone is thinking of becoming a pilot, then work hard and go for it!'

British Airways’ manager for pilot recruitment, Lindsay Craig, said: 'Jonathan, and all the other pilots from our British Airways Future Pilot Programme have done fantastically well to get through their rigorous training to arrive at this point.

A British Airways Airbus 320 aircraft, similar to the plane that Mr Irwin will be flying for the airline

'The training is incredibly tough, and standards are very high to ensure British Airways continues to get the best possible new pilots.'

Mr Irwin's success comes just over a year after Merseyside teenager Ryan Irwin was offered a job as a pilot with Ryanair at the age of 19.

Ryan, who is no relation to Jonathan, was offered a job with the budget carrier after qualifying as a pilot from the prestigious Oxford Aviation Academy.

In 2008, 19-year-old Ed Gardner became the country's youngest commercial pilot when he was cleared to take the controls of a Boeing 737.

He received his commercial licence while still a teenager and within a day had started work with Stansted-based charter firm, Titan Airways.

Also in 2008 schoolboy Jack Dopson was awarded a Private Pilot's Licence at the age of just 16, just three months after he started taking flying lessons.

The teenager took his first flying lesson less than a week after finishing his GCSE exams and six days before his 16th birthday.

In 2012, Rachael Spelling became the youngest girl in Britain to pilot an aeroplane after taking to the skies on her 16th birthday.

She first started taking accompanied flying lessons at the age of 14, soaring to 2,000ft in sole control of a Piper Archer aeroplane the moment she reached the minimum legal age for flying alone.


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