A nine-year-old girl is taking a step closer to her dream of becoming a pilot by experiencing flying first-hand.

Ellie Carter is learning about aeronautics with flying instructor Martin Kettle.

She cannot wait until she is 14 so that she can fly under instruction and then fly solo at 16. At 17 she will be able to complete her private pilot's licence.

Mr Kettle is taking Ellie on flights a couple of days every month at Draycot Aerodrome in Chiseldon, near Swindon, Wiltshire. The Monkleigh Primary School pupil, from Great Torrington, Devon, said her love of aviation grew from an interest in aeroplanes.

She said: "I just started having a fascination about aeroplanes and it went on from there. Flying is really good fun, I really love it. We take off, we fly, we do quite a long flight and we do lots and lots of manoeuvres.

"We do quite a lot of fun things like wingovers and really sharp turns and we go up and down like a rollercoaster."

Ellie said that while in the air she does experiments illustrating gravity and G-force by using China, a toy panda, which is hung up in the cockpit from a hook with a piece of string.

She said: "The G is not a force pulling you down, it is a force at speed time. We hang the panda up and if the force of gravity is not forcing you down, the panda will stay vertical with the aeroplane. Our next experiment is to do the Bob Hoover's roll with a glass of water."

Ellie's favourite aircraft is the US U-2 spy plane, which she got to see earlier this year at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

Unlike a lot of teenagers, Ellie said wants to have passed her pilot's licence before she learns to drive a car - and then aims to become the first British foreign exchange U-2 pilot. "Yeah, I'm really looking forward to that. I love flying and want to do that more than drive," she said.