Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Vorderman's solo ambition takes off

Carol Vorderman made her first solo flight live on TV
Carol Vorderman made her first solo flight live on TV

Carol Vorderman has piloted a plane solo for the first time - and achieved a broadcasting first.

The Loose Women star is training for her pilot's licence with a view to flying around the world single-handed to follow the intended flightpath of aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart.

She notched up her first solo flight after taking off from Gloucestershire Airport, near Staverton, witnessed by viewers of ITV's This Morning. It was said to be the first time a solo debut had been broadcast live on TV.

Viewers heard her scream with excitement as she landed successfully.

Prior to her flight she said: "I'm absolutely excited, excited, excited, but nervous, nervous."

Her trip, during which she climbed to 1,000 feet, was monitored by a helicopter which was shadowing her overhead and filming her progress.

Before taking the controls on her own she had been practising with instructor Debra Ford, who said: "She's been so enthusiastic and when you're enthusiastic and you're calm, it's very easy to learn."

Carol, 52, aims to fly 29,000 miles around the world single-handed next year and wants to set a world record for the fastest progress from solo debut to global flight.

The TV star took about three months to get to the stage where she was ready to fly solo, and has spent time in the air with her boyfriend, Graham Duff, a former Red Arrows squadron leader.

Afterwards, she gushed: "I'm so excited. I'm going to tell everyone, I'm going to tell everyone in the supermarket.

"It's something I've wanted to do for 35 years - I'm still only 32, obviously," she joked.

Carol said she talked to herself throughout the flight, setting out what she needed to do next. "That calmed me down. But It was so beautiful up there today and the wind was perfect," she added.

She hopes to gain her private pilot's licence by the end of September.

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