The Vintage Aircraft Club ‘Liz Inwood Taildragger Scholarship’ for 2017 has been awarded to Benjamin Pilgrim, a 25 year-old who currently flies from Liverpool airport where he is training to be a commercial pilot. It was presented to Benjamin at the Light Aircraft Association (LAA) Rally at Sywell Aerodrome, Northampton in September.
The Scholarship, named in memory of the late Tiger Moth pilot and flying instructor Liz Inwood, is funded by donations from the Vintage Aircraft Club, Light Aircraft Association and the Inwood estate. It is aimed at young pilots who wish to convert from typical flying club nose wheel designs to older tailwheel types, potentially opening the door to flying a wider range of vintage and classic types. Benjamin will be awarded five hours flying to assist in learning classic ‘taildragger’ handling, which now forms part of the now-required differences training.
Benjamin’s Liverpool University engineering dissertation was “Handling Qualities of Vintage Aircraft” and as part of his course he created a 1912 Blackburn Monoplane simulator flight model, so his vintage aircraft credentials were evident even before this award.
“The VAC has been in existence for over 50 years, and currently has some 300 members who own and operate almost 200 classic and vintage aircraft”said chairman Peter Wright. “In common with many organisations today, the Vintage Aircraft Club is most conscious of a rapidly widening age gap in its membership.
“If our club is to thrive and survive, we recognize that not only must we attract new younger members, but must also hand on the skills required for younger people to operate the older type of conventional undercarriage aircraft – or taildragger as they are more commonly known. We also have to accept that flying is generally not a cheap sport, and can strain the financial resource of most young people. The Scholarship is one initiative to help address these challenges.”