A former student is celebrating after being awarded her Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL) – before she has even got her driving licence!
Above: Air bp Sterling Pilot Scholar Elise Hammond receives her scholarship award from Immediate Past Master Nick Goodwyn, The Honourable Company of Air Pilots. Courtesy Air bp
Eighteen-year-old Elise, who left UTC Reading with an Extended Diploma in Engineering with three distinction stars this year, successfully completed her PPL at the end of September, shortly before heading off to Swansea University to study Aerospace Engineering.
Elise gained her wings thanks to the support of Air bp’s Sterling pilot scholar programme. She is Air bp’s third female scholar.
Speaking about the influence of the scholarship on her training, Elise said:
“I didn’t really have the means to fund my PPL on my own, especially with university starting, so receiving the scholarship has been a game changer.
“I’m hugely grateful to Air bp for this opportunity. Scholarships like this provide a fundamental steppingstone for young people to get involved in aviation, make the necessary connections and gain experience.
“My friends certainly find it amusing that I have learnt to fly before I can drive.”
Martin Thomsen, CEO Air bp congratulated Elise, saying:
“Elise is clearly a talented young woman. We look forward to hearing about her future progress. bp is committed to encouraging young people to join the aviation industry and our scholarship programme is a great example of one way in which we can do that. We will continue to invest in this programme in support of aspiring young pilots and in support of our industry.”
Elise has had her eyes on the skies from a young age. Having joined the Air Cadets at 14, she helped start up the UTC’s Combined Cadet Force (CCF). At Swansea, Elise aims to join the RAF’s University Air Squadron. After university, Elise hopes to join the RAF as an engineering officer and to continue flying so that she can keep her PPL and get additional ratings. Ultimately, she would like to build on her RAF career by getting a commercial pilot’s licence and working in that sector.
Good luck with everything Elise, we will be watching the skies looking out for you!
- Air bp’s scholarship is valued at around £10,000 and aims to assist aspiring UK pilots like Elise achieve their PPL. The CAE Pilot Demand Outlook 2020-2029 anticipates that global civil aviation industry will need more than 260,000 pilots by the end of the decade, making Air bp’s commitment to supporting young aspiring pilots all the more important. Furthermore, women in aviation are underrepresented and make up only 5.1% of all pilots.