FOR many that first whiff of true freedom comes with a driving licence at the age of 17 – but not for one Neyland teenager.

Sir Thomas Picton School pupil,Thomas Preece, 16, took to the skies of Haverfordwest on Saturday (November 23) afternoon during his first ever solo flight.

Thomas, who hopes to become an airline pilot, flew his first solo flight in a Cessna 150 over Withybush Airport.

He has been learning at The Haverfordwest School of Flying, under the watchful eye of instructor Jane McNamara.

“It is a great achievement to fly solo at any age but not many people manage that at such a young age - and before getting a driving licence,” said Jane. “He has done very well.”

Thomas was only told he was taking to the air halfway in to his lesson and by the end he had flown not once but twice.

“I was a bit nervous to start with but then I got quite excited,” he said. “It was kind of cool to know I was up there, flying.

“I’m not really sure why I like it, I just love flying for some reason. It’s that feeling of not being on the ground and seeing things from a different perspective.”

Dad Richard Preece, who watched from the ground, said: “I was with one of the guys in the control room, when two minutes later Jane hopped out of the plane and off he went.

“A first solo flight is something you only do once, but never forget.”

The minimum age for flying solo is 16.