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View from the cockpit

Release date:
September 2023
Air bp’s latest Sterling pilot scholar, Mollie Wadsworth, on why YouTube proved an inspiration, her ambitions to fly an A350 and why her friends are proud of her. 


Where are you doing your training and what stage are you at?

I am doing my training with Yorkshire Aviation Academy at Leeds East Airport in a Cessna 152. I have completed 39 hours flying and have six more hours remaining before I complete my Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL). 


Where are you from/currently residing?

I was born in Keighley in West Yorkshire and currently live in Bingley in Bradford. 


You are halfway through your A levels, what’s next?

I have just completed the first year of sixth form at Bingley Grammar School, where I’m studying Maths, Physics, Computer Science and Spanish. I’m now going into my final year of sixth form and after that am considering studying astrophysics at university. I haven’t fully made up my mind yet, but if I do go to university, I would love to join a university air squadron too. 


Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in aviation?

I have had a passion for aviation ever since I was a child. It progressed from me playing on my uncle’s flight simulators and car games, to my parents taking me to the airport to watch aircraft taking-off and landing and declaring at the age of nine that I wanted to be an air traffic controller. However, I ultimately settled on wanting to become a pilot and in particular a commercial airline pilot. I’ve been working on achieving that dream ever since. I used to watch plenty of YouTube videos (especially CaptainJoe – his videos are brilliant) to learn everything I could before I was able to fly. I joined the RAF Air Cadets when I was 12 and had my first ever flight at the age of 13 at RAF Linton-on-Ouse. I’m now 17 and my enthusiasm for flying hasn’t tired one bit. 


Why did you apply for Air bp’s Sterling Pilot Scholarship?

Completing a PPL was always a goal of mine and a steppingstone to becoming a commercial airline pilot. A previous scholar who I knew from the Air Cadets was a huge motivation for me as she had successfully completed her PPL through a scholarship and had so many great stories to tell about her aviation journey. So, when I heard about Air bp’s Sterling Pilot scholarship through the Honourable Company of Air Pilots I thought I had nothing to lose. I applied and am so grateful and fortunate to have been awarded the scholarship. 


What have been the highs and lows of your PPL?

There haven’t really been any lows at all – the whole experience has been amazing. However, I was incredibly nervous during my first solo flight. But I managed to pass the first ground exam (Air Law) and complete my first solo flight on the same day, so I was really pleased with that. Similarly, the cross-country flight, which I’ve yet to do, is also something I’m apprehensive about as it involves flying 150 nautical miles and landing at two other airfields before returning to Leeds East. But I’m looking forward to it too and hopefully will complete it soon. 


What are your future plans?

My absolute dream is to go on to complete my Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence (ATPL) and work as an airline pilot. Ultimately, I’d love to fly the A350. I can’t reiterate enough how this scholarship has given me the opportunity to learn so much more about a subject that I am so passionate about. It has also helped me gain confidence and resilience and paved the way for me to fulfill my dream of becoming a commercial pilot. 


Can you sum up what it means to be a young aspiring female aviator?

I believe that if you’re passionate about something, you shouldn’t let anything stop you, no matter what your gender. Although the industry is changing, women are still in the minority especially in the pilot community, so I’m honoured to be following in the footsteps of some incredible female pioneers and hopefully to be an inspiration to other young women. 


What do your friends think of you learning to fly at such a young age? 

They think I’m crazy, especially a couple of my friends who hate flying. I think they’re quite proud of me too though; they know how long this has been my dream and they always ask me how the flying is going. 


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