Sligo man realises his dream of being a pilot

DREAM JOB: Charles Kilawee boarding the plane to pilot a jet airliner for the first time last week.

By John Bromley

A 27 years-old County Sligo man who was one of Ireland’s youngest ever pilots when he flew solo at the age of 16 has now realised his dream of becoming a commercial airline pilot.

Charles Kilawee from Dromore West featured in the Sligo Weekender in September 2005 for the fact that he had joined an elite few who had piloted a plane unaccompanied at 16, the minimum legal age.

After his maiden solo flight at Sligo airport, where he learned to fly with Sligo Aero Club, he told the Weekender: “All my life I have had an interest in flying and I would like eventually to make flying my career.”

Charles has now achieved that goal. He has got a job as a pilot with Norwegian Airlines and last Thursday flew a jet airliner, a Boeing 737, for the first time.

Charles has done a lot of hours in airline simulators but he said the “actual experience is quite different”.

“Once you get onto the plane you know it can’t be paused”, he said.

For the full story, see this week’s Sligo Weekender newspaper or see our digital copy available from our homepage (

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