An 18-year-old Melton girl is on course to realise her dream of becoming an airline pilot after being given 12 hours of flying lessons as a reward for her commitment to a national military charity.
Cadet Flight Sergeant Olivia Brown, an RAF Air Cadet with 1279 (Melton Mowbray) Squadron, was one of only 11 teenagers across the UK to be awarded a Flying Scholarship by the RAF Association, which supports the RAF family.
Olivia was presented with her scholarship at the charity’s annual conference by the Air Chief Marshal, Sir Stephen Hillier, on her 18th birthday.
She said: “My grandfather was in the RAF, so there’s always been that family connection, and after three years with the cadets I’ve logged a few hours in the air already.
“My dream job would be to one day fly commercial airliners, like the Boeing 747, and take passengers around the world.
“This flying scholarship will make a real difference to me and it’s a fantastic opportunity, plus it’s an extra special birthday present.”
The lessons will take place during the summer at South Warwickshire Flying School.
Depending on their rate of progress, the course could earn Olivia and the other flying scholars their light aircraft pilot licence.
Group Captain Del Rowlands, director of membership for the RAF Association, said: “We’re delighted to be offering these dedicated young people the chance to learn to fly through our Flying Scholarships.
“This year’s applicants were particularly strong, and on behalf of the association I’d like to wish them all the best during their courses and in their future careers.”
More than 250 young people applied for a place on the 2019 Flying Scholarships.
Three of the scholarships are being sponsored by MBDA, a multi-national defence contractor, and two of them by the Aviation Focus Group, which promotes the exchange of aviation information, and encourages young people interested in the industry. The RAF Association is funding the remaining six.
The RAF Association will be inviting applications for the 2020 Flying Scholarships in the coming months.
Go online at www.rafa.org.uk/what-we-do/air-cadets/flying-scholarships to register an interest in receiving one.