Take-off for teens!
Teenagers across the country are being given the opportunity to learn how to fly, thanks to a national military charity.
Applications for the Royal Air Forces Association’s Flying Scholarships for 2020 opened on 16 September. Successful applicants win at least 12 hours of flying lessons with a qualified instructor. The scholarships are awarded annually to recognise young people’s outstanding commitment, through volunteering, to the RAF Association, the charity that supports the well-being of the RAF family.
Through last year’s intake, 11 young people successfully became Flying Scholars and have recently been taking flying lessons at South Warwickshire Flying School, Wellesbourne Airfield.
Cadet Sergeant and Flying Scholar Abbi Flynn at the controls of a light aircraft at South Warwickshire Flying School
Says Abbi Flynn, an RAF Air Cadet from Scarborough: ‘If you’d told me even six months ago that I’d be here doing a flying scholarship I wouldn’t have believed you. But now here I am, preparing to fly solo! I’d really recommend applying, you never know what might happen.’
Applicants for the scholarships must be aged 16 to 19, and must have served at least 12 months with the RAF Air Cadets, Girls Venture Corps Air Cadets or Explorer Air Scouts.
RAF Air Cadet Alex Braybrook, from Peterborough, comments: ‘Volunteering for the RAF Association really helps to open up pathways like this.’
Cadet Flight Sergeant and Flying Scholar Alex Braybrook at the flying school this summer
Last year, more than 250 young people applied to become Flying Scholars with the RAF Association. The 11 successful applicants received their scholarships from the former Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, at the RAF Association’s National Conference in May 2019.
Group Captain Del Rowlands, director of membership for the RAF Association, adds: ‘For decades now, our Flying Scholarship programme has been giving ambitious youngsters the chance to learn how to fly, and potentially earning them a light aircraft pilot licence. For many of them it’s been their first step in a successful career as a pilot, either in the RAF or in the commercial sector. We’re hoping for even more applicants for 2020, and I’d urge any young people interested in these scholarships to visit our website.’
Applications must be submitted by midnight on 29 February 2020. More information, including a video taken of this year’s Flying Scholars learning to fly, is available here.
About the Royal Air Forces Association
The Royal Air Forces Association (or RAF Association) is a membership organisation and registered charity that provides welfare support to the RAF family. We recognise that RAF personnel and their immediate families dedicate their lives to their country, and believe that such a sacrifice should not result in suffering, poverty or loneliness.
Whether it’s an injured airman or woman fighting to get back on their feet, a young child missing their parent away on overseas operations, or a Second World War veteran needing a shoulder to lean on, we are here to help all generations of RAF personnel and their families. We also support serving families if they need us. We give practical, emotional and financial support.
Our membership of 74,000 includes serving RAF personnel, veterans and members of the public who want to show their support for the work that we do.
Across the UK in 2017 the Association carried out more than 115,000 welfare contacts, calls and visits, helped tell thousands of bedtime stories to children whose parents were away on operations, and gave tailored holidays to 2,500 RAF veterans, widows and family at our Wings Breaks hotels.
Our support ranges from simply providing conversation and friendship to preparing and submitting application forms for financial assistance.
To find out more about our work, click here
Main photo: Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier (centre) meets the 2019 RAF Association Flying Scholars (left to right) Milan Gandhi, Maleha Khan, Robin Dalton, Allan Haddow, Thomas Grieves, Alfie Williams, Ben Wober, Joe Stevens, Olivia Brown, Alex Braybrook and Abbi Flynn, at the RAF Association’s Conference in May
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