Pilot from Clydebank set to fly world's biggest jet into Glasgow airport

IAIN Weir is living the dream.

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  • Clydebank boy Iain Weir, right, will be at the controls as the giant Emirates A380 'Super Jumbo' touches down at Glasgow Airport for the birthday party
    Clydebank boy Iain Weir, right, will be at the controls as the giant Emirates A380 'Super Jumbo' touches down at Glasgow Airport for the birthday party
  • Clydebank boy Iain Weir, right, will be at the controls as the giant Emirates A380 'Super Jumbo' touches down at Glasgow Airport for the birthday party

As a teenager, while washing aeroplanes to pay for flying lessons, he dreamt of being a pilot. Now, he is set to make aviation history by landing the world's biggest passenger plane on Scottish soil.

Airline bosses are holding a spectacular birthday bash to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Emirates introducing flights between Glasgow and Dubai.

They are flying a 'Super Jumbo' A380 to Glasgow tomorrow for a three-hour visit. VIPs will be invited on board to marvel at the double decker plane, which is fitted with showers, a spas and a passenger lounge with bar.

And the airline has chosen the former Clydebank High pupil to be at the cpntrols of the multi-million pound plane.

Iain could even end up flying over his home town when making his final approach to Glasgow.

An airport official said: "There is a 50-50 chance he will pass over Clydebank, but we won't know until Thursday morning. The wind direction will determine what route is adopted."

Iain was a schoolboy when he first caught the flying bug.

He said: "I was about eight-years-old and I was going on holiday to Majorca. I knew then I wanted to be a pilot."

Seven years later, while still at school, he got his first aviation job.

"I was answering the phones and washing the planes at the West of Scotland Flying Club," he said. "It's now defunct but I used the money to pay for flying lessons so that I could get a private pilot's licence."

He was still in his teens when he got his licence. Iain faces more years of training before landing a job as a commercial pilot, for Glasgow Airport- based airline Loganair.

Now 43-years-old, and married with two young boys and living in Dubai, Iain is living his boyhood aviation the dream.

There are only around 100 Airbus 380s in service around the world. Almost half belong to Emirates. Iain has been a pilot with the airline for the past decade and has been entrusted to fly the giant passenger plane for more than a year.

I am very privileged to be one of the few pilots in the world to fly the A380. It really is a dream for me.

"I was actually a co-pilot on the first Emirates flight out of Glasgow 10 years ago. When I heard the airline was bringing an A380 to Glasgow I emailed my boss to ask if I could be considered as the pilot."

The inaugural flight involved a smaller, wide- bodied, twin engined A330 Airbus. Airline chiefs had no A380s back then. They have dozens now and are awaiting delivery of dozens more to bring their A380 fleet up to 90 planes at a cost of billions of pounds.

And tomorrow shortly after mid day aviation history will be written when Iain lands the world's biggest commercial plane on the Tarmac at Glasgow.

The closest Scotland has ever got to rolling out the red carpet to crew members on board an A380 was when one of the 525-seater 'Super Jumbos' flew over Glasgow Prestwick airports five years ago.

Emirates have carried 2.4million passengers between Scotland and the United Arab Emirates. But it's not just travellers who are carried by the airline.

A staggering 10million bottles of whisky have been airlifted to Dubai - a major international air hub - with much of thatd cargo transported on elsewhere around the world.

That accounts for around £200million in sales for Scots whisky producers. Airline chiefs won't give much detail on their cargo but say more than 50m kgs of freight has been flown from the West of Scotland to the Middle East and beyond. The value has not been disclosed for commercial reasons.

One piece of cargo which made headline news happened last year when a wealthy businessman bought a £32,000 Aston Martin Cygnet car and had it flown out of Glasgow to Cyprus via Dubai. The expensive vehicle reached its destination within 48 hours.

The historic flight to Glasgow will include top airline officials and VIPs. Historymaker Iain will remain behind when the plane returns to Dubai - only to fly home on Friday as an ordinary passenger.

gordon.thomson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Travel

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