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Application numbers for flying scholarship soar

Published: 18 Jan 2017   updated: 29 Mar 2017

The word is out as RAF Flying Clubs' Association ( RAFFCA) has already received more than 300 applications for its Junior Rank Pilot Scholarship Scheme (JRPSS) in the first six weeks.

With just two weeks to go, the association is encouraging those wishing to apply for the RAF Charitable Trust ( RAFCT) sponsored scheme to 'get their skates on' and submit their application before the window closes on 31 January.

The JRPSS, open to serving RAF Regular and Reserve Junior Ranks (JRs) across the UK, will enable 30 lucky candidates to each receive 15 hours of flying instruction on a light aircraft, which may count towards a Light Aircraft Pilot Licence (LAPL). All necessary equipment to undertake the training at selected RAF flying clubs will also be provided through the scholarship, including flying suits and study packs.

RAF Flying Clubs' Association Project Officer Flight Lieutenant Chris Hives said: "We had a total of 368 applications over the three month application period in 2016 so we knew the scheme would be popular again this year.

"The scheme, which has received £82,500 of funding from the Trust this year alone, is a fantastic opportunity for our JRs. Two of our scholars have now secured to their Private Pilots' Licence (PPL) and many of the others are well on their way to achieving their LAPL. We are still accepting applications, but those who have not yet done so need to get their forms in quickly before the application window closes in two weeks' time."

Once candidates have successfully completed the scholarship there is also the opportunity to apply for the JRPSS Top-Up-Scheme which provides additional funding for those selected to continue their flying training.

Senior Aircraftman Aaron Garcha became the second person to achieve his PPL after he was awarded the JRPSS and top-up grant in 2016. He said: "November was a busy and exhausting month with lots of exams and testing, lots of travelling and lots of flying, but the hard work has paid off. On December 1 I successfully passed my final test and qualified as a pilot. I am grateful for everyone's support, including the incredible RAF Charitable Trust for opening these doors and making this possible.

"It's not just about the 15 hours but that fact that these hours will get the individual to solo standard and give them the opportunity to be the pilot in command of an aircraft for the first time. The first solo flight is a truly incredible experience that pilots remember for the rest of their life and I believe going solo will give individuals the drive to pursue a full license.

"This isn't the end for me - it's just the beginning. Achieving my licence has shown me that, with a little determination and the right support, you can achieve anything."

RAFCT Director Justine Morton added: "It's great to see that the results of the hard work our Junior Ranks have put in is paying off, and to see that the scheme really is making a huge difference to young people and the future of aviation. The application numbers just go to show that the scheme is extremely popular and really taking off."

The JRPSS was launched to improve the air-mindedness of Junior Ranks 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 benefited 40 serving personnel. 

To apply, or to find out more information, please click here. The 30 successful applicants will be announced on Monday 13 February 2017. Any applications made after the closing date will not be accepted. All training for successful candidates must be completed between 1 April and 30 September 2017.

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