THE sky really is the limit for high-flying teenager Bridget Donaldson, who has just gained a private pilot’s licence.
Earlier this year Bridget, a sixth form student at Morpeth’s King Edward VI School and Flight Sergeant at 404 Morpeth Squadron Air Cadets, was awarded an RAF Association Flying Scholarship.
The scholarship is awarded to one person in the country every year and out of 45,000 candidates Bridget came soaring through to be the overall winner.
It was no easy task as to gain the prestigious prize she first had to make the shortlist of the final 12 candidates and then attend an interview and nine hours of pilot aptitude testing at RAF Cranwell.
She said: “When I got the call I was absolutely speechless to be selected from so many amazing candidates.”
As part of the scholarship, she completed her PPL training at South Warwickshire Flying School near Stratford. The course included 35 hours of flying training, including 10 hours solo, and nine additional theory exams.
The student is one of the youngest people in the country ever to gain a PPL, which usually takes years of training. However, Bridget managed it in just a month.
A few weeks later she gained an Air League Gliding Scholarship, which she completed in Yorkshire on conventional gliders.
Alongside this scholarship, Bridget is a member of staff at 645 Volunteer Gliding Squadron at RAF Topcliffe in North Yorkshire. She is currently under training to become a voluntary RAF flying instructor and will complete this training before the end of the year. It will enable her to take cadets on air experience flights.
This will follow on from her Qualified Aerospace Instructor Course, which she completed earlier this year over a six month period. This allows her to train and teach cadets about aerospace theory.
In total, the RAF has awarded around £20,000 towards her flying training.
Bridget said: “I’ve been overwhelmed by how much flying training I’ve had the chance to complete this year. I’ve really enjoyed it and it makes me ever more ambitious to achieve my dream of becoming a fast jet pilot in the RAF.”