Queanbeyan teen Jade Esler's high-flying dream
Jerrabomberra teenager Jade Esler is not your average school girl. She's a straight-A student, budding entrepreneur and working towards becoming the youngest Australian to get his or her pilot licence.
The 13-year-old is the daughter of a private pilot and says she's always had the desire to be in the cockpit and in charge of the controls. Jade was exposed to flying from a very young age, her first flying experience was as a one-year-old strapped into a car seat at the back of a plane.
The Year Eight student is no longer just a passenger; she's been getting her flying hours up and has already clocked about 10 hours in the air. She hopes to gain her solo flying licence at the age of 15.
Jade, 13, in the cockpit. Photo: Supplied
She will be eligible for her restricted pilot licence on her 16th birthday, which could make her one of the youngest Australians to get their pilot licence."I'll be able to fly by myself before I can drive by myself," she said with a laugh.
"I've always loved planes and used to think flying was the best part of going on holiday.
"I'd love to fly big international jets all around the world. It would be great, I think it'd be really, really fun."
Jade is training at Fly Oz based in Cowra and has flown with the same chief instructor who also taught her dad to fly.
"[The instructors] are really supportive and nice. They find it a bit strange to be teaching a 13-year-old," she said.
"I like being up there and seeing everything, it's a different point of view. I don't know how to describe it but it's just a lot of fun.
"There are a lot of things going on at once, you have to concentrate very, very hard [when you're in the cockpit].
"There's not a moment for relaxation, you've got your feet going, your hands going, your eyes in and out, in and out. It takes a while to get used to it."
When she's not up in the air, the Year Eight student is busy baking cupcakes for her business venture, The Sugar Bite.
The business started as a means of funding her expensive flying lessons which are about $300 per hour.
On the suggestion of her mum, she started the cupcake business selling at local markets late last year.
With flavours like salted caramel, chocolate chilli, cookies and cream and rosewater, the cupcakes have been a hit.
Jade juggles her market stall, private catering orders and wholesale requests with her school work and swim squad commitments. But the Merici College student says she likes being busy and wouldn't have it any other way.
"I have a very big whiteboard, I write it all up [what I have to do]," she said.
"Sometimes there's more late nights if I've got assignments due, sometimes I can have a night off so I can watch tv. It just depends what's on but it's good."
Find out more about the Sugar Bite by visiting www.facebook.com/thesugarbite.