Six air cadets have won flying tuition worth a total of £8,000 thanks to the Royal Air Forces Association.
The RAF charity runs an annual Flying Scholarship programme, which makes six awards to outstanding members of the Air Cadet Organisation. The awards attract more than 250 applications every year from across the UK.
The cadets were presented with their prizes by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, at the Association’s recent Annual Conference.
35 Hour Flying Scholarship Winner
Cadet Sergeant Esmée Webley, 2522 (Bedlington) Squadron ATC
12 Hour Flying Scholarship Winners
Cadet Sergeant Ryan Cawsey, 2279 (Wrexham) Squadron ATC
Cadet Sergeant Karol Marcin Kubik, 43F (Morden and Mitcham) Detached Flight ATC
Cadet Corporal Ciara Louise McHugh, 72 (Omagh) Squadron ATC
Cadet Corporal Alexander Stockton, 331 (Chesterfield) Squadron ATC
Cadet Sergeant Thomas Santini of Robert Gordon School CCF, Aberdeen, was unable to attend but was congratulated on his 12 Hour Flying Scholarship Award.
Speaking after the presentation Cadet Sergeant Webley said: “As soon as you get up in the air, you have a whole new perspective of the world, it’s quite a liberating feeling. You feel fully in control of yourself, just looking down on everything.
“It’s been a lot of hard work, I applied last year and wasn’t successful, so I think the message is, keep going, keep applying and don’t give up. Just hang on. The amount you can achieve in one year with the ATC can really push forward your application, so keep trying.”
Cadet Sargeant Kubik said, “It’s definitely the pinnacle of anyone’s air cadet career. It’s a fantastic opportunity and I’m very grateful to be here. The beauty of organisations like Air Cadets and the RAF Association is they don’t discriminate. Where you live, where you’re from, as long as you have motivation and you work hard you’ll go far.”
Air Vice-Marshal John Cliffe, Chairman, of the RAF Association and a former RAF pilot, said: “We are delighted to help these young adults who hope for a life in the sky, to take their first flights. It’s often hard for their families to give them these opportunities, mainly because of the expense, and we are pleased we can help make these dreams become reality.”
“These annual awards are made by the RAF Association to thank the Air Cadets for their year-round hard work supporting our fundraising and welfare work”, he continued. “The quality of the entries is always extremely high and the application and interview process is very thorough. So our 2017 winners can be very proud of their achievements.”
The overall winner is rewarded with a course of 35 hours flight training in a light aircraft, which covers all or part of the tuition needed to obtain a National Private Pilot Licence. This would normally cost around £3,000. The five runners-up receive 12 hours training each (worth around £1,000 each).
Applications for the next round of scholarships usually open in September/October each year and will be announced on www.rafa.org.uk and www.rafayouth.org.uk .