Corporal Joe Sutherland of 103 Doncaster Squadron, South and West Yorkshire Wing has had his eyes locked on the skies since his first lessons at just 12 years of age.

On Joe's 16th birthday in December, he will continue his pilot training which requires him to fly solo for a total of 10 hours.

Forces Radio BFBS Catterick's Danny Parkinson spoke to Joe and discovered the cadet can’t gain a full license until he turns 17. The training requires solo flying and 45 hours of training. Thankfully he is already a third of the way there.

“It will be quite special; I’m looking forward to it but I’m a bit nervous as well.”


It is nearly two decades since RAF Finningley shut down in Doncaster but the tradition of the air cadets still stands strong in the area.

Joe is looking to carry on South Yorkshires RAF tradition by joining the force when he is old enough. Hoping to one-day pilot a Tornado GR4.

Corporal Joe Sutherland taking part in a drill

Flight Lieutenant Steven Lambert spoke of his pride in the youngster's achievements and how he has funded his flying dream through weekend jobs.

“All this is Joe, this is everything he wants to do.”

Samantha Pollard, Flight Sergeant with 103 Squadron, has seen Joe's progress since he joined up in his early teens and is amazed at how Joe’s confidence and skills have thrived.

“It’s still strange that he will be flying rather than driving.”

The corporal first joined the South Yorkshire squadron at the age of 12 and has been inspired by aircraft since his grandmother took him to visit planes taking off and landing at the local airport.

He now looks set to take to the skies on his own. While his peers may be saving up to take driving lessons, Corporal Joe Sutherland looks to balance his GCSE's with a pilots license.

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