A NORTH YORKSHIRE air cadet is "walking on air" after earning his wings at the age of 16.

John Gibbons, of Pasture Way, Wistow, near Selby, has passed all the tests needed to qualify for a private pilot's licence.

He undertook 55 hours of accompanied and 11 hours of solo flying time - including a trip from Sherburn-in-Elmet to Humberside.

John, who is a member of the Church Fenton Air Cadets and Sherburn Aero Club, wants to become an air traffic controller.

He was inspired to take to the skies after his parents bought him a trial flying lesson as a 15th birthday present.

"I loved it up there," said John. "I felt so comfortable and relaxed.

"I'd wanted to be a pilot for a few years, but then I thought about air traffic control, and thought the licence would help me on my way.

"I'm surprised I got it all done really. There were a lot of exams to do and I didn't expect to be able to fit them all around my GCSEs."

John, who is studying A-levels at York College, must now wait until he turns 17 on Boxing Day, before he will finally receive his pilot's licence.

"I can't wait to get the actual licence now," said John. "I'd like to thank Sherburn Aero Club and the instructors who have helped me."

Updated: 10:56 Monday, October 20, 2003