GOING SOLO: Toowoomba's Marco Zuccoli-Handley is Australia's youngest warbird pilot after he took a solo trip in a CAC Winjeel at the age of 16 last week.
GOING SOLO: Toowoomba's Marco Zuccoli-Handley is Australia's youngest warbird pilot after he took a solo trip in a CAC Winjeel at the age of 16 last week. Contributed

Teen enters record books with warbird solo flight

THE moment Marco Zuccoli-Handley taxied onto the runway at the Toowoomba aerodrome in his father's CAC Winjeel plane, he let go of his nerves and entered the record books.

The Toowoomba Grammar student is now Australia's youngest warbird pilot, guiding the 1950s plane during a 10-minute solo flight last week.

The usual minimum age for solo warbird flights is 17, but Marco's father Matt Handley secured special permission from aircraft watchdog CASA for his son to fly at 16.

 

GOING SOLO: Toowoomba's Marco Zuccoli-Handley is Australia's youngest warbird pilot after he took a solo trip in a CAC Winjeel at the age of 16 last week.
GOING SOLO: Toowoomba's Marco Zuccoli-Handley is Australia's youngest warbird pilot after he took a solo trip in a CAC Winjeel at the age of 16 last week. Lenn Bayliss

Marco, whose grandfather Guido Zuccoli was a pioneer in the Australian warbird industry, knew he was ready for the flight but still had pause for thought before the moment of truth.

"Dad called me and asked if I wanted to do a flight by myself - I had passed all the pre-solo and radio tests, so I was ready to go," he said.

"I taxied onto the runway, and I was really nervous until I turned around and I was on the runway.

"As soon as I put the power in, all the nerves went away and I was just focused on the flying."

Marco has already started preparing to apply for the Air Force after he graduates, even though his 195cm stature potentially prevents him from being a jet pilot.

"I'll see if I can get around it, but if I can't, my dream hasn't been shattered - there are other Air Force jobs," he said.

 

GOING SOLO: Toowoomba's Marco Zuccoli-Handley is Australia's youngest warbird pilot after he took a solo trip in a CAC Winjeel at the age of 16 last week.
GOING SOLO: Toowoomba's Marco Zuccoli-Handley is Australia's youngest warbird pilot after he took a solo trip in a CAC Winjeel at the age of 16 last week. Lenn Bayliss


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