A FORMER aspiring pilot has gone on to become chief flying instructor at a company based at Bournemouth Airport.

Jim Hammett has worked his way up the Bournemouth Helicopters company after taking flying lessons in 2006, before studying across the UK and USA, to become one of the business’s flying instructors in 2011.

Ollie Pennington, managing director of Bournemouth Helicopters and Solent School of Flying, said that he was ‘delighted’ that Jim had qualified for the new role.

He said: “His determination over the years has paid off for Jim, who is very popular with the student pilots he instructs on a regular basis and people who take our one-off introductory flights.”

Jim, 36, from Plymouth, said he had always had an interest in aviation and wanted to learn to fly aeroplanes from a young age, taking inspiration from his father who started training for a private pilot’s licence.

He said: “Whilst at the University of Hertfordshire as an Aerospace Engineering student, I had a trial lesson in an R22 helicopter and from that moment I knew I wanted to become a commercial helicopter pilot.

“It’s great to now be made the chief flying instructor where my initial training started.”