An 85-year-old man flew VIRUS SW 100 into the blue sky, setting a new record for the oldest cadet student in China

On August 17th 2021 an 85-year-old Wang Deshun completed the Sport Pilot license (hereinafter “SPL”) check ride at Mujiayu Airport, Miyun District, Beijing. He was flying a Pipistrel Virus SW100 aircraft and had 36-hours experience on this model.

During the flight, Wang completed all SPL tasks independently, setting a new record for the oldest cadet pilot in China.

Wang Deshun was born in 1936 in a rural community in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, northeast China. He worked as a bus conductor and then a worker at a munitions factory. In 2021, at the age of 85, he decided to learn to fly a plane to fulfill his childhood dream. Flying is a very physically demanding activity. Civil aviation pilots generally need to retire when they are about 60 years old. But Wang Deshun did not give up his dream because of his age. He said, “there are precedents in other countries of elderly people flying planes. Since I am in good health, why can’t I do it?”

Wang Deshun then sent an application to Pipistrel Academy China in Beijing. Because of Wang’s outstanding experience, the Pipistrel Academy China not only approved his application, but also developed study plans to help him realize his dream.

Flying a plane requires knowledge related to aerodynamics, aircraft general knowledge, air law, navigation, human factors, meteorology, performance and SW100 general knowledge,  all of which were new challenges for Mr. Wang Deshun.

“It wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be,” Wang Deshun says, recalling the first time he sat in the cockpit of an airplane. “I needed to be very brave and careful, so I did not have the time to enjoy the view. I also had to sum up the issues raised by the instructor and correct them the next day, because the first 10 hours of flying are the most important.”

Wang Deshun gradually became familiar with flying through practice and improved his flying skills with his instructor.
After 30 days of theoretical study and 50 days of flight training, Wang Deshun has completed his studies and will soon undergo an assessment to get his SPL.

Pipistrel congratulates Mr. Wang Deshun for his achievement and wishes him many safe and enjoyable hours of flight!