Skip to content ↓
Park High School

Park High School

Park High Alumni is the youngest girl in Harrow to pilot solo flight at 16

Park High alumni Hetal Mistry, is the youngest girl in Harrow to have flown a plane alone and as captain at the age 16 years and 2 months. She has been studying at Flight Training London at Elstree Aerodrome and hopes to receive her Private Pilot’s Licence at the age of 17. Hetal was an exceptional student here at Park High and received all 9's in her GCSE results. The Teachers here recall her as a pleasure to teach. 

“Hetal was the ultimate professional student. Not only did she continually and passionately work hard within class to keep progressing, but she helped the school community in her role as a prefect in a kind and caring way” -  Mr Whittaker HOY


You have not allowed cookies and this content may contain cookies.

If you would like to view this content please


Achieving a private pilot’s licence requires desire and determination to succeed. To get a private pilot’s licence you must complete a minimum 45 flying hours set by the Civil Aviation Authority, 5 hours of which may have been completed in an approved flight simulator (an FSTD – flight simulation training device), including at least 25 hours of dual flight instruction, 10 hours of supervised solo flight time, including at least 5 hours of solo cross country flight time with at least 1 cross country flight of at least 270 km (150 NM) that includes full stop landings at 2 aerodromes different from the departure aerodrome and nine theoretical exams before a flight test with a Flight Examiner.

We caught up with Hetal about her amazing achievement and what her journey has been like.

When did you start learning how to fly?

"I started learning just after I turned 15 years old which was about a year ago. The earliest you can start is 15, but you can’t pass until you’re 17. And you can only start doing a solo when you’re 16, so I did it as early as possible."

Have you always wanted to learn how to fly?

"I have not always wanted to fly but from around 2-3 years ago I was invited to a flight simulation, at a training centre, the simulation was a bigger aircraft it was a A380 but I really enjoyed the experience.

After that I decided to do some research about the career because, at the time, I didn't have any other definite career options in mind. The first step to becoming a pilot is to get a Private Pilot's Licence which is for lighter aircraft such as the Cessna 152 which I am training in and the licence is purely for recreational use.

After the research, I visited a few training centres and found this particular school, Flight Training London in Elstree, who asked me to go for a trial flight for an hour. It was a shock that I would be allowed to fly on the first day but it was truly a great experience and it motivated me to continue with the aim of getting my licence at the age of 17."

Is it difficult to learn how to fly?

"I would say it is not difficult to learn how to fly as long as you have the determination and patience to practice the skill. Landings definitely are the hardest part and they require many attempts to perfect your skill. From my perspective, I was not concerned about difficulty because I had motivation and I was enthusiastic in learning how to fly the aircraft. However, there are 9 theoretical written exams which are quite challenging so I would say this is the most difficult element of the course, if you are not confident with examinations!"

What is it about flying that you enjoy the most?

"I am quite an adventurous person, definitely a risk taker so the best part of flying is definitely the adrenaline rush, high speeds, height and the beautiful views from up there. On a warm and calm day you get clear views of sunset in the late afternoon which will be a view I will never get tired of."

Is becoming a Pilot something you have always wanted to do?

"I have not always wanted to become a pilot but I think now that I have experienced what it is like, I would definitely want to pursue this as a career and potentially become a commercial pilot."

What is your next challenge?

"My next challenge is to complete all of the exams (I have 6 theoretical ones and 1 practical examination left) and build up my flying hours with the aim of getting my licence once I turn 17 as this is the earliest I can get it. I am also looking forward to some cross-country flying."

Hetal is currently studying A-levels in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry. She plans to go on to university and is currently considering a maths-related degree in Actuarial Science or Engineering. She still hopes to train for her commercial licence and other ratings for the aeroplanes that she wishes to fly.

"During the last years at Park High, all of the staff members who taught me were very supportive which was great. It is definitely nice to share this experience and journey with others who are interested."

We hope that Hetal's experience and determination may encourage more students to explore different career pathways and try out unique hobbies and activities like flying. We are so proud of her achievements and wish her all the best in her future endeavours, we are confident that she will accomplish great things.

Park High School

Thistlecroft Gardens, Stanmore,
Middlesex, HA7 1PL

Headteacher:Mrs Colette O'Dwyer

Phone:020 8952 2803

Map of Park High School Location
  • SSAT Leading Edge
  •  Variety of teaching approaches
  • Teacher Development Trust
  • Arts Council
  • The Quality in Careers Standard
  • Healthy School
  • Stonewall
  • CSW
  • Ofsted
  • 4Stars