UCLan student achieves goal of becoming aircraft pilot at just 19-years-old

Posted on - 6th November, 2021 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Preston News, UCLan
David during a navigation exercise

A University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) student has achieved his life-long ambition to become an aircraft pilot at just 19.


Aviation-fanatic David Hart has taken his ambitions sky-high after gaining his private pilot license 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.

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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.

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

Flying over Llandudno, Wales, in a Cessna 152 on the way to Caernarfon

The second-year student 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.

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

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

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.

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.

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 license will help me stand-out in a very competitive field.

“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.”

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