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Air Tattoo Blog

Q&A with Ellie Carter

Published: 03 Apr 2019   updated: 04 Apr 2019

When nine year old Ellie Carter from Devon wrote to us back in 2012 asking us if we would invite her favourite aircraft to the show - little did she know what lay in store!

Ellie's letter (see below) asked us whether we could invite a US Air Force U-2 to the air show. Luckily for Ellie and thanks to the US crew at Beale Air Force Base, she was actually shown around the aircraft by the crew and given the rare opportunity to sit in the chase car travelling at approximately 120mph as it attempted to keep up with the landing U-2!

Recently we caught up with Ellie as she became the youngest pilot of a one person aircraft in Britain and asked her a few questions on how her life has changed since her visit to the Air Tattoo seven years ago!

When did your passion for aircraft begin?

It was always there. I used to look up to the sky as a toddler and wonder what it would be like to be up there. My love of science mirrored my love of aviation and I became fascinated by the U-2. So I wrote a letter and the rest is history.

Do you remember visiting your first RIAT?

Of course! It was 2010 and I had travelled up for the day. It was amazing! All these things that had fascinated me 'old and new' were all together in one place.

Do you think RIAT has changed over the years?

Yes. I see a positive approach to inspiring other children like me. Seeing groups of school kids on the Friday getting their first taste of aviation is great. These are moments that inspire the next generation.

What do you love most about RIAT?

The variety! I love all the modern technology but deep inside is a love of raw flying too - the nuts and bolts of it. I would love to fly old WWI aircraft to feel the birth of powered aviation. I also love big radials. One day I would love to fly the Catalinas and Lysanders and dream that someone finishes the Beaufighter.

How does it feel to be the youngest UK pilot of a one person aircraft?

It feels brilliant to be a part of inspiring others. I get girls and a few boys, messaging me now and it's great to help them!

What are your aspirations for the future in terms of flying?

I have too many. I want to have a career in aviation. So I want to grasp every opportunity that comes along. I really do appreciate what EasyJet are doing for me. In the short term I want to get my tailwheel and night ratings.

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