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Meet the Aussie teen flying a plane before she can drive a car

Lachlan Leeming, June 6, 2022 7:00PM Kids News

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Chloe Familton recently obtained her solo pilot’s licence even though she still can’t drive a car. Picture: Brendan Read media_cameraChloe Familton recently obtained her solo pilot’s licence even though she still can’t drive a car. Picture: Brendan Read


Reading level: green

While getting a driver’s licence is a symbol of independence for many teens, Chloe Familton, 16, took to the skies to claim hers, after qualifying for her solo pilot’s licence late last year.

The NSW student has so far accrued* more hours in a cockpit* than behind the steering wheel of a car.

Her family’s long-running passion for aviation* sparked for Chloe last year when she attended an open day at Scouts NSW’s Air Activity Centre at Sydney’s Camden airport.

“My grandfather was a navigator* in the air force in the Vietnam War*, so I guess I’m the third generation to be interested in aviation,” she said.

Pilot Chloe Familton media_cameraChloe Familton has a third generation passion for aviation – her grandfather was an air force navigator in the Vietnam War. Picture: Brendan Read

After attending the Scouts NSW open day, the Cherrybrook Technology High School student began training alongside her father Scott and the pair got their flying licences last year.

“I was pretty scared when she went up in the air for her first solo, as any dad would be, but she handled herself well … I’m hugely proud,” Mr Familton said.

Pilot Chloe Familton media_cameraChloe and father Scott Familton undertook the Scouts pilot training together. Picture: Brendan Read

Father and daughter were among those celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Air Activity Centre on Sunday, when Scouts chief commissioner Neville Tompkins said learning to fly was one of the many diverse* activities offered by the organisation.

“A lot of people think scouting is learning how to tie knots – very few would know you can join Scouts and learn how to fly,” he said.

“We’ve got a diverse program of activities (which) is how we are repositioning* ourselves to be much more attractive to what young people want.”

Pilot Chloe Familton media_cameraScouts chief commissioner Neville Tompkins said very few people would know “you can join Scouts and learn how to fly”. Picture: Brendan Read


  • The Scouting movement was started by Englishman Lord Robert Baden-Powell and began in Australia in 1908
  • The scheme started by training boys aged six and over by challenging them through adventurous activities
  • Australian Scouts opened to girls in the early 1970s
  • Scouts includes learning traditional skills like camping and orienteering, through to more extreme skills like overnight hiking, rock climbing and archery
  • The hierarchy includes Joey Scouts (aged six to eight), Cub Scouts (aged seven to 11), Scouts (aged 10-15), Venturer Scouts (aged 14-18) and Rovers (aged 17-26)
  • There are around 66,000 members in Scouts Australia today

Additional reporting by Mercedes Maguire


  • accrued: something that builds up over time
  • cockpit: area in the front of the plane from which pilot controls the aircraft
  • aviation: anything to do with flying aircraft and the airline industry as a whole
  • navigator: person who reads maps and other measures to decide the direction of travel
  • Vietnam War: a long conflict between North and South Vietnam that started in the mid-1950s and intensified in the 1960s once the US began supporting South Vietnam by sending military forces there. North Vietnam won the war in 1975.
  • diverse: varied, different, a wide range
  • repositioning: changing the image or a brand or organisation


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  1. Which organisation runs the Air Activity Centre at Sydney’s Camden airport?
  2. Chloe’s grandfather was an air force navigator during which conflict?
  3. Who did Chloe undertake training with?
  4. What milestone birthday did the centre celebrate on Sunday?
  5. Scouts is more commonly associated with what activity?


1. Pilot v driver’s licence
Chloe Familton has just earned her solo pilot licence at 16. Other 16-year-olds can also gain their learner driver’s permit, but can’t drive a car solo in some states until 17 or 18.

Create a two-column graph to compare and contrast the skills needed to fly an aircraft as opposed to driving a car as a teenager. Make the heading of the left hand column “Solo pilot’s licence” and the right “Solo driver’s licence” and list differences below – start by researching minimum flying and driving hours in your state.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Critical and Creative Thinking

2. Extension
Have you heard of Scouts before?

If so, what did you think they did?

Does this article change your opinion about getting involved with Scouts activities?

Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Personal and Social

Stretch your sentence

Find a “who” in the cartoon – a person or an animal. Write it down.

Add three adjectives to describe them better.

Now add a verb to your list. What are they doing?

Add an adverb about how they are doing the action.

Using all the words listed, create one descriptive sentence.

Extra Reading in humanities