THREE LOSSIEMOUTH AIRMEN more used to supporting aircraft on the ground are set to learn to fly themselves after gaining scholarships.
The trio have been selected alongside 27 others serving either in the regular air force or as reservist to receive the scholarships which are sponsored by the RAF Charitable Trust.
SAC Jack Holden, SACT Niall McDonnell and SAC Tom Shaw applied for the RAF Flying Clubs’ Association (RAFFCA) Junior Rank Pilot Scholarship Scheme (JRPSS) – now they will receive 15 hours of flying training, with the view to achieving a Light Aircraft Pilot’s Licence (LAPL).
SAC Holden is a Typhoon Maintenance Mechanic at II(AC) Sqn and applied for the scheme in order to kick-start his flying training. He has already logged his first hours when he was 14 and has flown a few times since.
He said: “I really am over the moon about seeing my name on the list. The scheme provides the perfect opportunity to really progress my flight training which in reality is hard to maintain due to the cost involved.
“As I highlighted in my application, the scheme is extremely important to me and I look forward to making the most of it!”
ICT Technician SACT Naill McDonnell said he applied to experience a side of the RAF that few ground trades have the opportunity to achieve. He added: “I feel so fortunate to have gained a place on the 2017 scheme and I am extremely grateful to the RAF Charitable Trust and RAF Flying Clubs’ Association for supporting this very worthwhile training for another year.
“This is a unique opportunity that very few non-commissioned personnel in the RAF ever get to have. I am extremely excited to begin my training in April.”
SAC Tom Shaw, meanwhile, said that he wished to further his Aircraft Technician knowledge: “I knew competition for the scheme was tough so I never imagined I’d be selected for it. I’m really amazed and I can’t wait to get started.”
The successful candidates will begin their flying instruction in April at a selected RAF Flying Club. Once they have successfully completed the scholarship, there is also the opportunity to apply for the JRPSS Top-Up-Scheme, which provides additional funding to continue flying training.
Justine Morton, RAFCT Director, said: “Firstly I’d like to say a big congratulations to Jack, Niall and Tom, along with all those who were selected for this year’s scholarship intake. They have a very exciting few months ahead of them and I wish them the best of luck.
“The Trust sponsors the JRPSS each year to provide more flying opportunities for young personnel who otherwise may not get the chance.
“The success of the scheme over the past two years shows the difference this funding can make to the lives of our JRs, as well as highlighting just how much appetite there is for youngsters to get involved in aviation.”
The JRPSS was launched in 2015 to improve the air-mindedness of Junior Ranks. The scheme has already benefitted 40 personnel, with the ambition of supporting 100 scholars through the scheme by 2018 – the RAF’s Centenary Year.
To find out more information about the JRPSS, visit www.jrfly.co.uk.