The Armstrong Isaacs Scholarship was set up some years ago with legacies bestowed by David Armstrong, an original member of the Ultralight Aircraft Association, later the Popular Flying Association and now the Light Aircraft Association (LAA) and a former Chairman, and John Isaacs, designer of the Isaacs Fury and Spitfire.
Initially it was used to fund a single NPPL scholarship every other year for a deserving under 30 years old. In 2017 however, it was decided to change the remit to funding a number of £1500 bursaries, again for those up to 30 years of age, to assist post-solo students who were facing the most expensive part of their training – the dual and solo cross countries.
For 2019 we had the pleasure of awarding five bursaries. Whilst it is unfortunate that we cannot help every deserving case, it is encouraging to see that there is clearly a healthy number of younger people taking up flying for recreation or as a potential career.
The 2019 scheme got underway at the LAA Rally in September, with entries closing at the end of November. Below, we present a brief resume of one of last year’s winners Ellie Carter.
Ellie Carter from Devon says: “I have wanted to fly for as long as I can remember. I used to look up at the sky when I was a toddler and think wow – I wish I was up there! I used to build model aircraft and design new concepts and use the dolls that my Gran used to buy me as crash test dummies. Mum and Dad don’t fly and there is no aviation in my family, so they thought I was odd.
When I was nine, I wrote a letter to the USAF because I was fascinated with the U2 spy plane. The crews took me to see it and have been encouraging me ever since – they follow my career and are still supportive.
My first solo flight was on my 14th birthday on gliders, and I flew solo on powered aircraft three days after my 16th birthday. I am now at the early stages of my cross-country solos and really looking forward to landing at lots of different airfields.
I am aiming for a career in aviation. I am good at maths and science and love the idea of flight testing as well as flying larger aircraft. Flying for me is just the most an amazing thing and I clearly knew it was going to my world from being that toddler.
As well as progressing my career I also want to be an inspiration to other kids who want to fly – especially girls who feel they won’t be accepted. I want to do for others what others have done for me and give them that first ever flight.”
Note: subsequent to winning the Armstrong Isaacs bursary, Ellie has been taken under the wing of easyJet, providing her mentoring with Line Training Captain Zoe Ebrey, as part of the airline’s ongoing efforts to attract more women into the profession.