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A Chinese Teen Who Took Two Planes Joyriding Has Been Offered Flying Lessons

Airport authorities were so impressed with the 13-year-old boy's skills that they now want to train him to be a pilot.
SJ
Mumbai, IN
July 23, 2019, 11:40am
Chinese teenager caught stealing two planes offered flying lessons by pilot
Photo: Bidgee / Wikimedia Commons

Just after midnight on June 15, a 13-year-old boy snuck into an airport in the city of Huzhou, in China's eastern province of Zhejiang, and stole two seaplanes to take them joyriding.

He first picked up one of the planes made by a company called SeaRey and started the engine, only to crash it into a fence while trying to make a turn. Undeterred, he then broke into another plane and managed to successfully taxi it around before leaving the airport on his electric bike. The boy escaped unharmed and his parents only discovered what had happened after authorities showed up at the doorstep.

Now footage of the kid's adventure has gone viral on Chinese social media platform Weibo and the boy has managed to rack up a bill of 8,000 yuan for damages to the planes. Authorities have also imposed a fine of 2,000 yuan and given him a strict warning.

But it seems not everyone thinks the kid's shenanigans were a bad thing. A few pilots at the airport now say they're so impressed by the boy's skills—skills he says he gained by observing maintenance and repair work happening on the planes just a day earlier—that they've now offered him flying lessons to become an actual pilot. “We pilots all admired him,” the SeaRey base director told South China Morning Post.

So, while some felt the story represented nothing more than bad airport security and an even worse case of parenting, apparently some clouds do have a silver lining.

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This article originally appeared on VICE IN.