- Schoolboy learned to taxi aircraft by watching repair crews
- Stunt won him admiration of pilots and prospect of learning to fly
A Chinese teenager who crashed a seaplane into a railing at a lakeside car park in eastern Zhejiang province may have pranked his way into a career as a pilot.
The 13-year-old was caught on camera as he took two planes from their Taihu Lake hangar under cover of darkness on Monday morning, Dushi Express reported on Friday.
The schoolboy, from nearby Huzhou city, spent part of last weekend watching staff at the SeaRey base work on repairs and maintenance. Security camera footage showed him arriving there on an electric bike just after midnight on Sunday.
He then dragged a 450kg (990lbs) plane from its hangar, jumped into the cockpit, started the engine and drove it across a car park, hitting a crash barrier as he tried to make a turn.
Abandoning the plane, he went back to the hangar and took another for three circuits of the car park before fleeing on his bike.
The teenager caused 8,000 yuan (US$1,200) worth of damage to the 1.88 million yuan seaplane, the report said.
His parents only learned of their son's trip when police called on Monday evening and a payment of 2,000 yuan towards the repair bill was negotiated, it said.
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The SeaRey base director, surnamed He, was quoted as saying that starting and taxiing the plane involved a few simple steps, but that it would have been impossible for the boy to fly it as that required professional piloting skills and 30 hours of training on the flying boat itself.
But he praised the teenager for being observant.
"We pilots all admired him," the director said, adding that he would like the boy to train at the base and become a pilot.
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