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Dad says boy, 5, piloted ultra-light aircraft in Beijing

A 5-year-old boy could be named the world’s youngest pilot, according to his father, after he flew a Bee 3-type ultra-light aircraft across Beijing Wildlife Park on Saturday, Jiangsu-based Modern Express reported today.

The boy, He Yide, flying with a coach who was sat behind him, first took a 10-minute trial flight at 5:30pm with colored smoke trailing from the aircraft, the report said.

Then, at 6:08pm, the boy and his coach took off again and flew across the park in a 35-minute journey, the report said. He encountered some rough air at around 200 meters but didn’t call for help from his coach, Yang Yanwu, who was sitting behind him, the report said.

The boy’s father, He Liesheng, said he hoped to get the boy into the Guinness World Records as the youngest child to pilot an aircraft, but it was unclear today whether Guinness even has such a category.

Questions were raised in some media reports about whether the flight was taken without permission or in violation of aviation rules.

Not only are private flights in China subject to a lengthy and complicated application process but according to China Civil Aviation Law, applicants for pilot licenses must be at least 17 years of age, Global Times reported on Sunday.

The boy had trained at a flying club a in rural area, about 60 kilometers from Beijing, for about a month, with daily expense, including accommodations, running as much as 1,000 yuan (US$163.50), his father said.

The exploits of the boy have been celebrated in the national press ever since he made headlines in February 2012 by running in the snow in New York City wearing only shoes and underpants.

The elder He, the boy’s disciplinarian dad, dubbed “eagle father” in the press, put the boy through harsh training, which he said was making his son strong and healthy, according to reports. He Yide had been weak after he was born premature in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province.

In July 2012, the boy started sailing boats in Jinniu Lake in Jiangsu. That August, he joined the International Youth OP Sailboat Championship held in coastal city of Qingdao in Shandong Province, and that September, he spent 15 hours climbing Mount Fujiyama in Japan, his father said.

The father said he now wants his son to fly across Kekexili, also known as Hoh Xil, which encompasses China's largest area of uninhabited land.


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