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Nine new candidates selected for disabled pilot training

Posted 26 April 2013 · Add Comment

The disability and aviation charity, Flying Scholarships for Disabled People (FSDP), has announced it will be funding a group of nine new pilot scholars when its latest round of training begins in summer 2013.

The pilot training, which is completely charity funded, aims to change the candidate’s lives, all of whom are disabled, through the medium of flight.

During some 30 years of activity it has provided training for more than 400 ‘pilots’, many who achieved solo flight and some who have gone on to self-fund their own full private pilot’s license.

The nine applicants, chosen from a pre-selected group of 24 candidates, underwent a three-day selection process at the Aircrew Selection Centre at RAF Cranwell. The challenging process includes an aircraft assessment, during which applicants have to carry out an external inspection of a light aircraft, appraisal of the candidate’s physical ability to access the aircraft, and evaluation of their ability to operate the aircraft controls safely.

The candidates are assessed by senior flying instructors from Oxford Air Training Academy, which donates the use of a PA 28 aircraft. The potential scholars also take a written test on the ‘theory of Flight’ and a detailed assessment by the specialised FSDP medical team establishes their suitability for training.

The final part of selection is a large group interview with all the selectors. Inspirational talks by mentors, including aviation enthusiast and aviation business owner, Bruce Dickinson, who is also lead singer of Iron Maiden, take place during the evening and are designed to further inspire the candidates.

“It is a lengthy and tough process for the candidates as it sees them facing up to the reality of their disability, but it also demonstrates just what they can achieve if they are determined and positive,” said Edwin Brenninkmeyer, chairman of the charity. “The experience can completely change scholars’ lives as it gives them new-found confidence, a new skill set and demonstrates that a physical disability does not have to stand in the way of achieving goals. It is incredible witnessing the transformation the training has on our scholars and we’re delighted to have chosen our next nine candidates”

The FSDP funding covers the costs of the pilot training in addition to accommodation and services needed throughout the duration of the course. The courses run through the summer with the final presentation ceremonies held at the Royal International Air Tattoo in July, when scholars and graduates will be presented with their 'wings' by HRH Prince Faisal of Jordan – patron of the charity and the Chief of the Air Staff.



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