03/02/1987 at 01:00 AM EST
Riding shotgun in the little Piper Warrior winging across the Oxford-shire countryside was that Falklands War vet and one-man Royal Air Force, chopper jockey Prince Andrew, Duke of York. But it was the novice pilot at the Warrior's controls, with the air-traffic nickname of Chatterbox One, who got the hero's welcome at Kidlington airport near Oxford. None other than the Flying Duchess, Sarah Ferguson, was cheered as she climbed from the cockpit wearing her own version of the uniform made famous by World War II aviators—brown sheepskin jacket, white silk scarf and gloves—and became the first female member of the royal family ever to receive a private pilot's license. With two jeweled, bi-plane-shape "hair planes" in her red braid, Fergie thanked "my wonderful husband" for encouraging her to wing it through 40 hours of flight training and was presented with a bouquet shaped like a helicopter, although she hasn't learned how to fly one of them yet. After a brief licensing ceremony, Fergie was asked what her next challenge might be. "Concorde," she answered with a grin and the right-stuff brevity.