Flying high with charity scholarships

Pictured from left are Iona Townsley, Michael Rose and Hannah Strachan.
Pictured from left are Iona Townsley, Michael Rose and Hannah Strachan.

Three local students have been awarded flying scholarships by a new charity set up to promote aviation among young people.

Michael Rose (18), a mechanical engineering undergraduate from Forfar, Forfar Academy pupil Iona Townsley (17), and Webster’s High pupil Hannah Strachan (17), from Kirriemuir, will each receive 10 hours of flying instruction under the scheme run by ‘Take Off’.

The course, which will be conducted at the Scottish Microlight Flight Centre at Perth Airport, will take them to the standard necessary to fly an aircraft solo. All three are junior members of the Scottish Aero Club and senior cadets in the Air Training Corps.

During its first year of operation in 2013, ‘Take Off’ collaborated with Perth and Kinross Council to provide eight flying scholarships for six boys and two girls from schools within the council’s area. This year the scheme was extended to the Scottish Aero Club’s existing junior members and Michael, Iona and Hannah will begin their flying training in June.

‘Take Off’ was established to increase opportunity, education and awareness within aviation for young people and Ian Grosz, the charity’s chairman, said the learning process can have wider benefits.

He continued: “While we have extended the scheme to those already with some involvement in aviation, our principal goal is to widen the opportunity for access to aviation for those who otherwise would not, or may have never even considered it. We emphasise the personal development aspects of our scholarship programme for the young people we work with.

“We believe that the confidence gained from flying an aircraft solo, at an age possibly before being legally able to drive a car, is something that has enormous benefits in life. It can provide the self-belief and motivation to encourage young people to work hard to achieve their goals and this is an important element of our scheme.”