Sir Adrian Swire Flying Scholars take to the Skies

During the Summer Term 2023, Chloe and Alisha (UVI) were the recipients of the Sir Adrian Swire Flying Scholarship. These Scholarships are sponsored by the Adrian Swire Charitable Trust and the Swire Charitable Trust and give recipients £2,500 towards flying lessons in the hope they inspire young people to become pilots in the future.

Chloe and Alisha give us their thoughts on their experience.

I chose to enrol in Progress Flying School, located in Wycombe Air Park, with the aim of working towards a National Private Pilot Licence (NPPL). Starting training on an Ikarus C42 Microlight, a high-wing two-seater plane, I was instantly captivated by the feel of flying and being in control of such a small, but powerful plane. My first flight was an experience I’ll never forget. I was able to take in the vast landscape of High Wycombe and fly towards surrounding towns such as Princes Risborough and Aylesbury. Each lesson consisted of a 30-minute-long briefing, followed by an hour of flying. Briefings allowed me to understand the principles behind certain techniques, and putting the theory into practice was especially thrilling. I was able to learn all about the controls of the plane, and the effects of parts such as the aileron, rudders, and elevators. The most challenging part of flying, apart from mustering the confidence to talk on the radio to Air Traffic Control, would have to be perfecting take-offs and landings. Landings were especially difficult, requiring a large amount of delicacy, precision, and skill. Towards the end of the scholarship, I flew through five rigorous hours of circuit training, nearing solo standard, where I was able to take off and land over 20 times in a variety of conditions, mimicking emergency landings, as well as flying through unexpected weather. Learning how to fly has left me transfixed on the world of aviation, encouraging me to pursue further flying lessons now the scholarship is over. The skills that have been developed through being in the air, such as attentiveness and the ability to learn on the move and under pressure, are sure to help me in future pursuits – I’m still learning how to drive a car! – Chloe

This summer, I had the privilege of landing an aeroplane 13 times – an incredible experience to say the least. The Sir Adrian Swire Flying Scholarship granted me the remarkable opportunity to immerse myself in the fascinating world of aviation. I received seven intensive hours of flying instruction, during which I not only learned the intricacies of flight, but also developed a profound admiration for the perfect blend of science, skill, and precision that aviation demands. Located at Redhill Aerodrome, I flew an aircraft known as the Bulldog which trained RAF pilots in its former life. Before every lesson, my instructor would recommend that I review sections of a Private Pilot License training manual. Following that, just before getting into the aircraft, we would have a conversation about the content, which we would later apply in practice. The most thrilling, and most nerve-wracking, exercise was the stall. Deliberately executing a manoeuvre that you generally try to avoid felt counterintuitive, however, the sense of accomplishment upon successfully recovering was immensely rewarding. One thing I hadn’t anticipated before the scholarship was the degree of multitasking necessary. I was struck, particularly during landings, by the multitude of factors that demanded attention: fine-tuning power adjustments, carefully controlling the aircraft’s attitude, maintaining communication with air traffic control, adjusting the stages of flap, monitoring all the flight instruments, making a descending turn onto the glide path and, of course, executing the landing onto the runway itself. This careful balance is precisely what made learning to fly, and indeed mastering the art of landing, so captivating. Beyond the technical skills I acquired, this scholarship has provided me with invaluable insight into the field of aviation. As an aspiring aeronautical engineer, I am excited to apply the knowledge and inspiration gained in the future. – Alisha

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