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If you’re considering a flying career, but struggling with the cost of flight training, there are plenty of organisations out there which offer a wide variety of bursaries, which cover anything from a few free hours’ flying to sponsored ground school courses and Jet Orientation Courses.

Organisations such as The Honourable Company of Air Pilots, the Air League and the RAF Association offer impressive schemes which award lucky recipients with the opportunity of valuable flying hours and, in some cases, sponsorship of a full PPL. If you’re considering a career in aviation or the military, these awards can give a competitive edge to your application, save you money and give you a boost towards clearing that first hurdle and obtaining a PPL.

There are also bursaries available to help licence holders gain additional qualifications or renew an expired rating, as well as gliding training and other new challenges, all experiences which will benefit your application when seeking a job in aviation.

Our advice is to apply early and really take your time with the application. The scholarships are often awarded to those applicants who have a good background knowledge of aviation and can demonstrate a real passion for the pastime.

Here’s a list of a few on offer, but keep an eye out online for other opportunities.

  • Tom Keable won the guild’s Sir Sefton Brancker scholarship and completed it with Tayside Aviation over summer 2011 – this enabled him to finish his PPL


The Honourable Company of Air Pilots (formerly known as the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators, GAPAN) offers several flying scholarships and bursaries which provide a unique opportunity for people who would like to become pilots or further their qualifications as pilots. Among the awards offered are the Past Master Mike Grayburn Award and The Cadogarn Charitable Trust, which both award funding for one PPL, as well as the Sir Adrian Swire Award and the Weetabix Charitable Trust which both sponsor type ratings. HCAP also offers gliding scholarships, as well as a JOC (Jet Orientation Course) scholarship and a complete ATPL ground school award. For more details and application forms, visit:



The Air League Educational Trust annually awards flying scholarships and bursaries, gliding scholarships and engineering scholarships. For more information and application details, visit:


Cherry Charters was the 2016 winner of the Bristol Groundschool ATPL course scholarship, offered through the Air League
Cherry Charters was the 2016 winner of the Bristol Groundschool ATPL course scholarship, offered through the Air League

The RAF Association has been running its Flying Scholarship programme for the last ten years, with their scholarship open to young people from the Air Cadet Organisation and Girls Venture Corps Air Cadets. For more information, visit:


  • BWPA

The British Women’s Pilots Association awards a scholarship annually to a young woman between the ages of 17 and 26. This scholarship is administered by The Air League, and details can be found at:



The RaeCT offers two categories of bursaries. It awards flying bursaries/grants for those wishing to advance from one recognised level of air sport to the next level and wish to upgrade their existing qualifications. 50 bursaries were offered in 2016 and include The President’s Award (two bursaries each worth up to £750), a further bursary worth up to £1,000 (The Peter Cruddas Foundation Scholarship), the Breitling Bursary also worth up to £750, the MacRobert Trust Bursaries (two bursaries each worth up to £500, and the Bramson Bursary also worth up to £500, as well as a number of additional bursaries worth up to £500 each to suitable candidates. No applications were received in 2016 from balloon flyers who are encouraged to apply for future bursaries. It also awards FlightSim bursaries/grants for Computer Flight Simulation enthusiasts wishing to gain practical experience of flying or an air sport. More information and application details can be found at:


  • LAA

The Light Aviation Association offers a scholarship through the Armstrong/Isaacs Foundation, based on two major donations from David Armstrong, a very early member of the LAA and equally eminent John Isaacs, the designer of the Isaacs Fury and 7/10 scale Isaacs Spitfire. The scholarship awards full sponsorship of a PPL to a young member of the LAA. Details found at:



Aerobility is a registered charity with the aim of offering disabled people, without exception, the opportunity to fly an aeroplane. Flying Scholarships for Disabled People offers 35 hours flying tuition, relevant ground school and supporting exams. To learn more, visit:



Flyability is an organisation with the intention of encouraging more people with disabilities to take up flying and offers to contribute up to £375 towards student pilot training and up to £75 towards club pilot training costs. For details and to apply, visit:



The airport has been running an Aviation Scholarships programme for the last four years, funded by Cotswold Airport owner and chief executive Ronan Harvey and run in conjunction with the airport-based fly2help charity. Find out details and apply now through:



This trust offers the Fiona McKay Flying Bursary, which funds 10 hours conversion and consolidation on a Tiger Moth. For more information and an application form, contact:

Stuart McKay MBE,
The de Havilland Educational Trust (deHET)
23 Hall Park Hill

You can find out more at www.dehavillandeducationaltrust.co.uk/bursaries/


Fleet Air Arm offers a Gliding Awards Scheme, which has seen more than 550 students complete the gliding training courses since it started in 1986. It aims to provide a potential source of pilots and observers for the Navy, and to provide young men and women with an exciting challenge, designed to encourage a sense of responsibility and the motivation to prove leadership qualities. Gliding courses last up to eight days in length at a number of locations. For more information, visit:


Students from the 2012 Cotswold Airport Aviation Scholarship
Students from the 2012 Cotswold Airport Aviation Scholarship