Scheme Sends Junior Ranks Flying High
Published: 11 Mar 2016 updated: 12 Apr 2016
More than 20 members of the Junior Ranks based at RAF stations across the UK and Cyprus have been told they are to receive scholarships to learn to fly and achieve solo standard in a light aircraft.
They were among a record 367 applicants who applied to the RAF Junior Rank Pilot Scholarship Scheme (JRPSS) 2016.
The scheme was first launched last year as a joint venture by the RAF Flying Clubs' Association and the RAF Charitable Trust (RAFCT). It proved so popular that an initial grant of £20,000 to fund eight scholarships was doubled by RAFCT Trustees to enable more Servicemen and women based at RAF stations across the UK and Cyprus to benefit.
This year, 24 scholarships were on offer thanks to an increased grant of £60,000 from the Trust. RAFCT Chairman Air Marshal Sir Kevin Leeson said Trustees have been overwhelmed by the popularity of the scheme. He said: "Clearly the word is out there among the Junior Ranks who recognise the many benefits, both personally and professionally, that learning to fly can bring. We're making a difference to the lives of serving personnel in the UK and abroad by funding a wide variety of projects and are particularly keen to support initiatives that promote airmindedness.
"The popularity of the scholarship scheme among Junior Ranks may well result in even more support from Trustees in the future."
Flt Lt Chris Hives, an RAF Flying Clubs' Association executive and JRPSS project officer, said: "As soon as the application window opened, the popularity of the scheme was obvious and by the deadline period for applying we had received more than twice the number submitted last year. I was delighted with the response and, moreover, the fact that the JR cadre were clearly competing for a place on the JRPSS, as evidenced by the high standard of their applications. The job of the JRPSS Selection Board certainly wasn't easy."
Corporal Amy Foster, from RAF Brize Norton, who was awarded a scholarship in 2015, said learning to fly under the scheme was an experience that would stay with her forever.
She said: "I achieved solo flight after 14 hours. My instructor just hopped out of the aircraft with the engine running and told me I was on my own - I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. The experience was a real confidence booster. If I can fly an aircraft solo - I can do anything!"
The successful applicants are: Cpl Anthony James Barnes, RAF Cosford; SAC Scott Brown, RAF Marham; SAC Liam James Conway, RAF Lossiemouth; SAC Grant Cowe, RAF Lossiemouth; Cpl Graham Dacres, RAF Coningsby; SAC Kieran Ashley Dinsdale, RAF Waddington; LAC Ryan William Durnall, RAF Coningsby; SAC Neil Dennis Foard, RAF Odiham; SAC Aaron Amerjeet Garcha, RAF Akrotiri; Cpl Sarah Halsey, DMRC Headley Court; SAC Michael Harrison, RAF Coningsby; SAC Jack Oliver Stratford Holmes, RAF Marham; SAC Elliott Hunt, RAF Waddington; SAC Shaun Kenrick Jamieson, RAF Wittering; SAC Charlotte Louise Lord, RAF Brize Norton; SAC Joshua Brandon Enzo Lyons, RAF Scampton; SAC Samuel Thomas Mear, RAF Benson; SAC Steven Nicholas Moseley, RAF Akrotiri; SAC Ben Richard Perfect, RAF Waddington; SAC David Charles Rainbird, RAF Brize Norton; SAC Thomas David Shepherd, RAF Lossiemouth; AC Andrew Shane Teece-Lockley, RAF Cosford; SAC Joshua Wardman, RAF Lossiemouth; Cpl Charlotte-Marie Williams, JHC HQ, Andover.
Photo Caption: 2015 JRPSS scholar Corporal Amy Foster