SINCE he was 13, Chris Starr has had his head in the clouds - to be fair, it's been with the aim of a career in the aviation industry.
The 2013 Kiama High School graduate has been an apprentice aircraft maintenance engineer at Bankstown Airport since December.
He said his interest in aviation began when he was in primary school.
"It probably started in late primary school and probably through my grandfather [Milton Starr] who was in the air force in World War II," he said.
"Also, living here in Kiama, we see aircraft flying up and down the coast all the time."
Chris's interest took the form of models and the Australian Air Force Cadets, which he joined when he was 13.
During his time with the cadets, Chris reached the rank of cadet corporal, attended many courses and training camps, including about 10 continuous gliding training courses.
Through the courses, Chris achieved his solo wings and a number of other qualifications and certificates.
The training also allowed him to be one of only two people from the NSW Air Force Cadet Wing to attend the National Aviation Competition for gliding in Adelaide in 2012.
Chris said he was hooked on flying the first time he went up in a glider in 2010.
"It was a very strange feeling," he said.
"It's as if you're in a plane, because you're being towed but once you start gliding it goes silent pretty much and it feels like you're floating.
"I was hooked - definitely."
While drawn to gliding initially because it was cheaper, Chris said he was now pleased that was where he cut his teeth.
As Youth Scholarship co-winner, Chris has received $500 to help with his studies.
The Kiama Independent congratulates Chris and wishes him well in his future endeavours.