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Thu 23rd May

2019 Flying Scholars!

A group of 11 outstanding RAF Air Cadets from around the UK will be taking to the skies this summer, after winning Flying Scholarships from a national military charity.

Ten of the teenagers were awarded 12 hours of flying lessons, with the eleventh receiving 35 hours, for their commitment to the work of Royal Air Forces Association which supports the RAF family.

They were each presented with their scholarships at the RAF Association’s annual conference in Birmingham by the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier.

Alex Braybrook, a Cadet Flight Sergeant with 115 (Peterborough) Squadron, received the 35 hours of lessons. He said: “I found out I’d received the scholarship on my 17th birthday, which I think is the best present I’ll ever get! My friends at school think it’s crazy that I could get my pilot licence before I get my driving licence.”

The other cadets who received Flying Scholarships are:

  • Cadet Sergeant Maleha Khan, 2428 (Hedge End) Squadron
  • Cadet Corporal Alfie Williams, King Edward VI Grammar School (Louth)
  • Cadet Flight Sergeant Milan Gandhi, 1454 (Harrow) Squadron
  • Cadet Flight Sergeant Joe Stevens , 88 (Battle) Squadron
  • Cadet Sergeant Ben Wober, 606 (Beaconsfield) Squadron
  • Cadet Flight Sergeant Olivia Brown, 1279 (Melton Mowbray) Squadron
  • Cadet Flight Sergeant Robin Dalton, 2443 (Okehampton) Squadron
  • Cadet Corporal Abbi Flynn, 739 (Scarborough) Squadron
  • Cadet Flight Sergeant Thomas Grieves, 110 (City of York) Squadron
  • Cadet Flight Sergeant Allan Haddow, 137 (Ayr and Prestwick) Squadron

The flying lessons will take place during the summer at South Warwickshire Flying School. Depending on their rate of progress, the course could earn the Flying Scholars their light aircraft pilot licence.

Del Rowlands, Director of Membership for the RAF Association, said; “We’re delighted to be offering these dedicated young people the chance to learn to fly through our Flying Scholarships. This year’s applicants were particularly strong, and on behalf of the Association I’d like to wish them all the best during their courses and in their future careers.”

More than 250 young people applied for a place on the 2019 Flying Scholarships. Three of the scholarships are being sponsored by MBDA, a multi-national defence contractor, and two of them by the Aviation Focus Group, which promotes the exchange of aviation information, and encourages young people interested in the industry. The RAF Association is funding the remaining six.

The RAF Association will be inviting applications for the 2020 Flying Scholarships in the coming months. For more information, visit:

(Centre) Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier meets the 2019 RAF Association Flying Scholars (left to right) Milan Gandhi, Maleha Khan, Robin Dalton, Allan Haddow, Thomas Grieves, Alfie Williams, Ben Wober, Joe Stevens, Olivia Brown, Alex Braybrook and Abbi Flynn, at the RAF Association National Conference.