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Wednesday 3 November 2021

Sky’s the limit for talented UCLan student

Aerospace engineering student David achieves pilot licence through prestigious scholarship

A local student is on cloud nine after achieving his life-long ambition to become an aircraft pilot.

Whilst most 19-year-olds are learning to drive a car, aviation-fanatic David Hart has taken his ambitions sky-high after gaining his private pilot licence thanks to a prestigious scholarship.

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) aerospace engineering student was one of eight recipients to be awarded a scholarship through the Honourable Company of Air Pilots, which attracted more than 600 applications from all over the country.

David’s scholarship, funded by the British Airline Pilots Association Benevolent Fund (BALPA BF), provided him with 45 hours’ one-to-one instruction, flying from Blackpool Airport with Westair. The intense summer course involved practising various scenarios, flying techniques and emergency drills, on top of many hours revising for the nine exams David needed to pass to become an aircraft pilot.

"My scholarship journey has been extremely hard work, but it was genuinely the best time of my life."

UCLan aerospace engineering student David Hart who has been awarded his pilot's licence via a scholarship

The second-year student from Walton Park said: “My scholarship journey has been extremely hard work, but it was genuinely the best time of my life. Learning about navigation, radios, and the general handling of the aircraft has been truly fantastic."

David’s training culminated in a solo flight from Blackpool to Shropshire, via Caernarfon, in North Wales, before heading back to the Fylde Coast.

“The solo cross-country flight was by far the highlight” said David. “It was exhilarating. A coastal flight allows for amazing views and it is a day I’ll never forget.”

His final stage of obtaining a private pilot licence was completing a skills test, which David successfully did.

"The course is very hands-on, which is exactly what you want as an engineering student, and I’m already seeing how what I learn at University and what I learnt during the scholarship complement each other."

UCLan aerospace engineering student David Hard who has been awarded his pilot's licence via a scholarship

David has been interested in flying for as long as he can remember and as a member of 2376 (Bamber Bridge) Air Cadets, he had his first taste of flying aged just 17 through an Air Cadet Pilot Scheme scholarship.

“For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by the world of aviation” he said. “Star struck by the pilots I saw at air shows, I was adamant I wanted to be one. Joining the Air Cadets gave me some fantastic opportunities, including my first flying experiences in light aircraft.”

The ambitious former All Hallows Catholic High School and Cardinal Newman College pupil has returned to UCLan as a qualified pilot and is using his new-found knowledge as part of his three-year degree course.

"My dream is to have a career as a pilot. I’m sure my degree and pilot’s license will help me stand-out in a very competitive field."

UCLan aerospace engineering student David Hard who has been awarded his pilot's licence via a scholarship

He said: “The course is very hands-on, which is exactly what you want as an engineering student, and I’m already seeing how what I learn at University and what I learnt during the scholarship complement each other.

“My dream is to have a career as a pilot. I’m sure my degree and pilot’s licence will help me stand-out in a very competitive field.”

David is already looking ahead to the next stage of his pilot training with further flights planned.

He added: “My next goal is to learn to fly at night and I’m already looking forward to taking off in the dark and getting a great view of the Blackpool Illuminations. I get an incredible sense of freedom when I fly, it’s a fantastic feeling that’s hard to put into words.”

David Hart during his Honourable Company of Air Pilots scholarship flying course01 / 05