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Scholarship helps Charlotte's flying career take-off

Published: 19 Dec 2016

A flying scholarship, awarded by the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust (RAFCT) and the RAF Flying Clubs' Association (RAFFCA), has helped Charlotte get her aviation career off the ground.

Cpl Charlotte Williams was awarded flight training through the Junior Rank Pilot Scholarship Scheme (JRPSS) earlier this year and has now been awarded an additional top-up grant to help her achieve her full Private Pilot's Licence (PPL).

Charlotte joined the RAF in May 2008 as a Flight Operations Assistant and currently works in Joint Helicopter Command. She said: "Winning the scholarship means everything to me because aviation is something that I have been passionate about since I was an Air Cadet.  I applied thinking that I'd never win but to physically be able to fly has really opened my eyes to what I can achieve.

"I have always taken any opportunities that the RAF has given me through playing sport, but this is something completely different that challenges me mentally, as well as physically, and has ultimately led my confidence to sky rocket."

Charlotte has undertaken 17 hours of flight training through the scholarship and still has another 18 hours remaining. The JRPSS also funds all the necessary equipment to undertake the training, and the top-up will provide nine ground examinations and a flight test with the aim of getting her 'over the line' and obtain a full PPL. 

Charlotte continued: "Once I have achieved my full PPL I want to start flying competitively in aerobatic competitions and actually enjoy the freedom of having my licence - like fly to Europe for the weekend! With some experience under my belt I hope to start working towards a Commercial Pilot's Licence.

"The Scholarship has presented me with a range of other opportunities too. I attended the Royal International Air Tattoo as a VIP guest this year and was able to see the F-35 demo on its first UK flight. I was one of the most junior persons there and was invited to meet with the majority of the RAF's senior officers. They were all very keen to hear about the JRPSS and encouraged me to apply for commission to become an officer; I will be attending selection in January hopefully!"

The JRPSS was launched in 2015 to improve the airmindedness of Junior Ranks (JRs) by offering them flying experience and the opportunity to increase their knowledge and understanding of the technologies used in aviation. In just two years, the scheme has already benefitted 40 serving personnel. Find out more information here.

RAFCT Director Amanda Butcher added: "The JRPSS presents a fantastic opportunity for aviation minded JRs to achieve a flying licence, which has so many benefits, both personally and professionally. The number of people benefitting from the scheme has increased each year and is on track to reach 100 by the RAF centenary in 2018. We are thrilled to be able to provide this level of support to help secure the future of aviation and help young people on their path to success."

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