A Llanfair Caereinion teen who was born deaf has achieved the incredible feat of flying a plane in her role with the Royal Air Force Cadets.

Olivia Cornell, who attends Ysgol Bro Caereinion, who was born profoundly deaf and implanted bilaterally with cochlear implants when she was 18 months old, recently became the first ever RAF cadet with cochlear implants to fly.

On February 13, Olivia was given the opportunity to fly an aircraft, a Grob G 115, at RAF Cosford, having been a part of the 2364 Welshpool squadron Royal Air Force Cadets for over two years.

Speaking on Olivia’s achievements, her mum Keilly Cornell said: “Olivia’s uncle and grandfather were both involved with the RAF so it’s very much a generational part of our family, so I think that’s where the ambition started.

“I’m sure many didn’t think it would be possible, but she’s become very good at making the impossible possible.


“It’s a fantastic, huge moment for her to achieve this, even if she tends to play it down herself, she recognises what a big achievement it is.

“Olivia’s cochlear implants give her access to a world of sound, but her sensory experience is still very different to other people. To have not just the ability but also the confidence and drive to move through each unique challenge is monumental.”

County Times: The view from Olivia Cornell's aircraft during her first flight.

Olvia received support from staff who run the squadron allow her every opportunity to access the ranges, camps and other facilities. They carried out their own risk assessments for her abilities to support and facilitate her in her journey.

Keilly added: “The staff are truly an inspiration and their continued support to never see Olivia as ‘different’ is exceptional.

“I’ve always been a huge advocate for her, and believed there was no ceiling on what she could do, but I’m still blown away by everything she’s managed to accomplish during her time with the Royal Air Force cadets.

“I also think it’s a big deal not just for her, but for the idea of what people with disabilities can achieve.

"There are so many children who might be told that they can’t do something, who won’t have someone to believe in them when it’s entirely possible with the right support and accommodation.”

Having flown for the first time, Olvia’s next goal is to get a pilot’s license and will be taking more flying lessons soon.