For most youngsters turning 14 means a chance to get their hands on the latest video game or fashion trend to hit the high street. But for high flying Ruari Tait it saw him enter the record books – as the youngest person to fly a glider solo above Scotland.
And it comes just two years after the Gordonstoun schoolboy was involved in a near tragedy when he and dad Robert’s glider wing sheared off after smashing into a fellow enthusiast at 4,000 ft. After a dizzying spin lasting between 10 and 20 seconds, the pair cheated death with a textbook exit of the aircraft – parachuting 2,500ft to safety as their glider smashed into the ground below them.
However, the brush with death has not put the chocks on daredevil Ruari’s flyaway ambition to pursue his dream job in the aviation industry. He marked his 14th birthday yesterday (WED) – the legal age limit at which someone can fly the engineless aircraft unaccompanied – by taking to the skies above his Moray home on his first solo jaunt. The young Top Gun, who even managed a cheeky 2,000ft selfie at the controls, said: “It was great. I was quite nervous before but I was trying to keep calm.
“The accident hasn’t really fazed me.
“You just feel free. There’s no noisy engine or anything to disturb you when you’re flying.
“It’s quiet and peaceful. Depending on what glider you are in, you can only hear the wind.
“It was awesome.”
The birthday extravaganza was nearly a late departure though as it looked like the weather may scupper any chance of getting Ruari into the air. But it was a true family affair when they managed to pull it off as the sun broke through the clouds in the skies above their Elgin home just across the road from the Highland Gliding Club.