By Jennifer Cairns 13 Dec 2022 6 min read

Advice from the youngest flight examiner in the world

Meet Kathan Dudhela, the UK’s youngest flight instructor and the world’s youngest flight examiner...


Where did the dream start for you?

My dream for aviation started when I was just three years old back in India, when my father used to take me to a local airport now and again to drop relatives off. I used to sit in the balcony and watch the aeroplanes fly in and out of the airport, I found it fascinating and wondered how they managed to stay airborne and defy gravity. These small experiences were enough to confirm that I wanted to search for Commercial Pilot jobs. 

I moved to London in 2010 which is when I started primary school. During my school holidays, I used to go Heathrow airport and watch those jets depart and arrive, as well as ask pilots when the opportunity arose as to how they got into commercial flying. Each story was unique and interesting.


What steps did you take to chase your dream?

At the age of 14, I joined the air cadets where I gained knowledge in what skills were required in flying as well as which paths are available to apply for pilot jobs, whether commercial or recreational. At 17, I started my Private Pilot License and passed my GCSEs. I studied hard and at the same time I worked an early morning paper round to fund the flying training. 

At the beginning of 2018 I passed my License Skills Test for my Private Pilot License, I was over the moon, all that hard work had paid off! The dream from young was complete and I was now a Pilot! :)

I wanted to continue my education and gain my A-Levels, unfortunately there wasn't a school that would accept me, so I decided to do some work experience at Elstree Aerodrome in Hertfordshire. The work involved moving aeroplanes in and out of hangers. I was also refuelling helicopters that flew in and out of Elstree.

Six months passed, I started looking for work locally and I wasn't successful with the jobs that I had applied for. I decided to continue looking for work, but this time at the airfield. Knowing fully well that my path was going to be in aviation so where better to work? After handing out plenty of CVs, one flight school got in touch about a role as an Operations Manager. Wow! I thought, this is a great way into the business to learn about the business!

Whilst I didn’t have any experience in managing a flight school, I accepted the job and started working the very next day. I had to manage bookings, schedule aeroplane maintenance, create trial lesson vouchers and had to deal with customers. This role was excellent, it allowed me to progress and develop myself in various areas. 

Fortunately, I was able to continue flying and build my experience by ferrying aeroplanes planes for maintenance and fly with friends sharing the cost.

Summer was approaching and I had managed to fly 200 hours allowing me to commence a Flight Instructor rating. I embarked on the course in June 2019 and competed it by July 2019 - making me UK’s Youngest Flight Instructor at the age of 19!

After flying 1000 instructional hours, I decided to also become a Flight Examiner and Ground Examiner. I’m currently working as a Flight Instructor / Flight Examiner at London Elstree Aerodrome looking forward to a warm summer of flying across the countryside teaching my students. I also ferry planes in and around UK / Europe.


Do you have any future aspirations?

I aspire to become a Commercial Pilot as well as get my aerobatics rating and compete in the Red Bull world championship. I also hope to compete in the handicap air racing in the UK.

My journey has been challenging and fun, it has also shaped me to become a better person and influenced my personality in a positive way. I hope in the future I can achieve my goals and help the next generation of pilots achieve their dreams.

I hope this article has inspired you in some way, know that no matter how difficult the journey maybe, it cannot last forever, after all I was refused jobs locally which was a blessing to get me to where I am now :)


Apply for your next pilot role today!