Chad Flies High After Scooping Top Award
Published: 01 Nov 2019 updated: 04 Nov 2019
A 19-year-old from Yateley in Hampshire, who dreams of becoming a fast jet pilot has received the highest award for flying excellence in the RAF Air Cadets at a special ceremony held at Bentley Priory, the historic home of RAF Fighter Command during World War Two.
Cadet Warrant Officer (CWO) Chad Dodsworth, who is a member of 457 Farnborough Squadron, was presented with the RAF Charitable Trust (RAFCT) Flying Excellence Trophy plus an additional £5,000 of flying training in recognition of his outstanding flying ability, strong personal qualities and his great potential.
Chad, who has already achieved his Private Pilot's Licence, was one of 11 Air Cadets who learnt to fly after receiving scholarships from RAFCT and the Geoffrey de Havilland Flying Foundation (GdHFF).
He said: "I've always been into aviation and my ideal job would be as a fast jet pilot in the Royal Air Force or flying off the front of ships in the Royal Navy. Learning to fly at Tayside Aviation was the best six weeks of my life and I am very grateful to both the Geoffrey de Havilland Flying Foundation and the RAF Charitable Trust for enabling me to grow. For someone who has always wanted to be in aviation, this is a dream come true."
Chad said he was particularly inspired by his flying instructor Iskander Pedash. "He pushed me hard, but I looked up to him. He was awesome."
The presentation to CWO Dodsworth was one of three trophies awarded at the ceremony. Flight Sergeant (FS) Patrick Mitchell was awarded the GdHFF John Cunningham Trophy, awarded annually to the Air Cadet who gains the highest marks in all aspects of flying ability; and FS Harry Karmel received the GdHFF John Hogg Memorial Prize, awarded to the Air Cadet who is assessed to be the best all-round individual. A further award, the GdHFF Thompson Sword, was presented to Grace Dodson, who had been selected as the top RAF cadet in the Combined Cadet Force.
RAF Charitable Trust Director Justine Morton paid tribute to the Air Cadets, saying: "You all had to work very hard to get to this point. The scholarships you received are the pinnacle of the Air Cadet flying experience. You should be particularly proud that you are considered the best of the best."
In 2019, RAFCT Trustees awarded nine Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Knight Scholarships to Air Cadets who, in the opinion of the Commandant Air Cadets, display the most promise for a successful career in aviation and previous winners have gone on to successful careers in military and civil aviation.