Edward Pinnegar: an author at 15

PUBLISHED: 17:58 20 July 2012 | UPDATED: 21:37 20 February 2013

To have had a book published at the age of 15 is an unusual achievement - but Airline Scams and Scandals, is in fact Edward Pinnegar's second published work. Patricia Cleveland-Peck met the young East Grinstead author

Edward Pinnegars first book A History of Aviation in Alderney was written when he was 13 and published a year later. Edward, who had no adult help with the writing, also handled the business of finding publishers and sorting out contracts himself although at the outset he wisely joined the Society of Authors, becoming their the youngest-ever member.

I asked him how he had gone about finding a publisher. I submitted the proposal to five publishers, he replied. Three wrote back with one-line negatives and two were rather more upbeat. When I accepted the offer, as they had not been able to find anything about me online, they speculated that I might be a businessman with my own aeroplane and an interest in local history!

Throughout the year of writing Aircraft Scams and Scandals Edward, has been preparing for his GCSEs with A-levels to come next year.
I asked him how he had found the time to write.
If my housemaster had known I was typing out thousands of words many hours after lights-out, Im
not sure hed have been best pleased but
I dont think it came as much surprise to friends that I was starting another book. Im not sure they realised that this one would be of a somewhat different genre
to the first, however.

Yes, this book is different whereas Aircraft in Alderney is a short appreciation of a minor branch of the aircraft industry, Airline Scams and Scandals is a full-length book which deals in a light-hearted fashion with such topics as disappearing planes, sky-diving drug dealers, bogus pilots and unsolved hijackings. It retells stories like the tale of Mathias Rust who evaded detection and landed a plane on Red Square. Nor is our young author afraid to touch upon the less salubrious side of in-flight scandals. Apparently so many people would really like to join the Mile High Club that Mile High Flights flying from Gloucestershire Airport, operated a Cessna Caravan fitted with a sumptuous mattress and sufficient pillows to accommodate a couple ( or even a threesome) until closed down by the Civil Aviation Authorities as, too distracting for pilots.

Edward even touches on his own embarrassment when, flying with his family, his father heard the announcement and thought the pilots voice was slurred. Pinnegar pre accordingly called the stewardess and asked if the pilot were drunk. She went to check and came back with the answer. He isnt drunk, hes Dutch The book has the considerable advantage of taxiing with off a wickedly funny introduction by comedienne Caroline Reid, aka Pam Ann, which begins Welcome aboard bitches

Edwards initiative and drive is impressive but, it must be said, he does not come from a totally conventional background. The youngest of three brothers, he grew up at Hammerwood Park near East Grinstead, a historic house open to the public which his family has restored and which has also served as the location for films such as London Boulevard, giving Edward the opportunity to rub shoulders with such stars as Keira Knightley and Colin Farrell. Music too is an important element, concerts are held at Hammerwood regularly and Edward himself plays the harp and the piano.

Had he, I wondered always excelled at school? When I was 12, my English teacher at prep school did remark that I would go places or some such. My results were respectable enough but I was never the star of the class.

And when did his interest in aircraft begin? I believe I first flew when I was two years old and when I was five my parents gave my brother and I trial flying lessons for a joint birthday present. Since then my interest has been relentless, Edward replied.

My favourite aircraft has to be Concorde for its profoundly beautiful design and the fact that it was so far ahead of its time but another is the 16-seater Britten-Norman Trislander plane built on the Isle of Wight in the 1970s for its individuality and for the fact that it inspired me to write my first book. About 20 of them remain around the world. With 16 seats, no aisle, and three propellers, theyre terribly noisy and very cramped, but the pilot turns around to give the safety briefing and you only start to dislike them when the tinnitus gets louder than the engines.

And what does the future hold? I hope to start training for my Pilots Licence this summer. However it is an expensive hobby and if I want to keep flying then writing books at a fairly continuous rate throughout my studies until I can get a job is more or less obligatory.

Airline Scams and Scandals by Edward Pinnegar is published by the History Press at 8.99 ISBN: 9780752466255

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