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Air bp scores a hat trick with third female Sterling Pilot Scholar completing her Private Pilot’s Licence

Release date:
28 November 2022

With the global pilot shortage an ongoing concern for the aviation industry, Air bp, the international aviation fuel products and service supplier, is delighted to confirm that its seventh Sterling Pilot Scholar has been awarded her Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL). Eighteen-year-old Elise Hammond, from Reading successfully completed her PPL at the end of September and is Air bp’s third female scholar. 


Elise completed her PPL at Blackbushe Aviation, Blackbushe Airport, just prior to heading off to Swansea University to study Aerospace Engineering. This follows her completion of an Extended Diploma in Engineering at UTC Reading with three distinction stars. 


Having joined the Air Cadets at 14, Elise helped start up a Combined Cadet Force (CCF) at her college. At Swansea, Elise aims to join the RAF’s University Air Squadron. 


Elise comments: “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.” 


Martin Thomsen, CEO Air bp added: “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 our industry.” 


After university, Elise hopes to join the RAF as an engineering officer and to continue flying so that she can keep her PPL and get additional ratings. Ultimately, she would like to build on her RAF career by getting a commercial pilot’s licence and working in that sector.

Air bp’s scholarship is valued at around £10,000 and aims to assist aspiring UK pilots like Elise achieve their PPL.  The CAE Pilot Demand Outlook 2020-2029 anticipates that global civil aviation industry will need more than 260,000 pilots by the end of the decade, making Air bp’s commitment to supporting young aspiring pilots all the more important. Furthermore, women in aviation are underrepresented and make up only 5.1% of all pilots, so Air bp is even more excited to be supporting Elise in her career. 


Air bp works with the Honourable Company of Air Pilots (HCAP) to organise the Air bp Sterling Pilot Scholarship because of its excellence in promoting the availability of scholarships to a wide public audience and its history of conducting a rigorous and fair selection process.  


Air bp’s Sterling Pilot Scholarship is named after its globally recognised fuel payment card, the Sterling card. The Sterling card provides easy access to fuel for thousands of clients and makes life simpler for private pilots, aircraft management companies and corporate flight departments at any of Air bp’s 700 locations globally. 



About Air bp:

As the aviation division of bp, Air bp is one of the world’s leading suppliers of aviation fuel products and services. It has been investing in the aviation industry for more than 90 years to keep people flying safely around the world. In 2019 we supplied over 6.7 billion gallons of aviation fuel, fuelling over 7,000 flights per day at over 700 locations in more than 55 countries – that’s more than five planes a minute.


Its customers include commercial airlines, the military, business and private aircraft owners, airports and airfield operators. Air bp has a wide range of services to support its fuel offer including the design, build and operation of fuelling facilities, technical consultancy and training, low carbon solutions, the Sterling Card for efficient general aviation refuelling and innovative digital platforms to increase efficiency and reduce risk.


Find out more about Air bp.


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