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Inspiring the next generation of pilots

Release date:
December 2022
With the global pilot shortage an ongoing concern for the aviation industry, we are delighted that our latest Sterling pilot scholar has now completed her Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL). 


Our seventh Sterling pilot scholar, 17-year-old Elise Hammond from Reading successfully completed her PPL at the end of September. Originally from Reading, Elise completed her PPL at Blackbushe Aviation, Blackbushe Airport in the UK just before heading off to study Aerospace Engineering at Swansea University. 


An aspiring aviator from a young age, Elise joined the Air Cadets at the age of 14 and now plans to join the Royal Air Force’s (RAF’s) University Air Squadron while at Swansea. 


Once she has graduated, Elise hopes to join the RAF as an engineering officer and to continue flying so she can keep her PPL and get additional ratings. Ultimately, she would like to achieve her commercial pilot’s licence and work in that sector. 


“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,” said Elise. 


Air bp’s scholarship is valued at around £10,000 and aims to assist aspiring young pilots in the UK achieve their PPL. We work alongside the Honourable Company of Air Pilots (HCAP) to organise and promote the scholarship. 


With the CAE Pilot Demand Outlook 2020-2029 forecasting that demand for global civil pilots will exceed 260,000 pilots by the end of the decade and women only making up 5.1% of all pilots, we are delighted to be supporting Elise in her achievements. 


Commenting on Elise achieving her PPL, Martin Thomsen, CEO Air bp said: “Many congratulations to Elise who 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 the industry.” 


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