Stories From Past Scholarship Recipients

Nerita Somers, Women in Aviation International – Australian Chapter, 2018 Fly Oz IREX Scholarship Winner.

Q & A with Nerita

  1. Describe the scholarship you were awarded and the experience of attending the training and how that has/will help you with your goals.

I was awarded the IREX Instrument Theory scholarship which was generously sponsored by FlyOz in Cowra NSW in 2018.

I had originally intended to undertake the IREX, once I had completed my Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), however due to circumstances outside of my control, I was not in a position to complete my CPL in its entirety before heading up to Cowra New South Wales, to undertake the intensive 1 week theory course in late February 2020.

However, whilst being immersed in the one-week course, I learnt so much on why we do things in a particular manner when we fly under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), which actually gave me a proper grounding and further context with regards to my Commercial Licence subjects.

  1. Tell us more about the your overall scholarship experience.

The scholarship experience has really meant the world to me, because it has opened up a whole new industry network which I never thought I would be able to tap into so quickly. It has also provided me with an opportunity to attend events, where I have been able to meet some of my biggest aviation idols which include but are not limited to Captain Deborah Lawrie and Captain Lisa Norman, these two women have done so much in terms of diversity and inclusion for Aviation in Australia.

Being a National Scholarship winner, has also provided me with the opportunity to be mentored by some of the most influential female pilots in the industry, who have provided me with some great advice. One of my mentors is Captain Rachael Menkins, who I met through WAI, and also had the privilege in being part of the WAI stand at the 2019 Avalon Air show, it was great to see so many young girls and women showing an interest in Aviation. One of my biggest advocates for continuing my studies in Aviation, when it felt like a road uphill, is Tam Camilleri, the former President of WAI – Australian Chapter, who has made me believe that no matter how many challenges we face through Aviation, this goal is worth every bit of sweat, and tears, because the view from the top is amazing.

Photo 3 – Left to Right, Nerita Somers, Captain Lisa Norman and Captain Deborah Lawrie. Photo 4- 2019 Avalon Airshow

  1. Do you any words of encouragement for those thinking about applying for a scholarship?

Representation matters, and for a young woman like myself who comes from a culturally and racially different background, it’s so important to have role models which you can look up to in an industry that you are so passionate about wanting to venture into. Sometimes, you will end up becoming the accidental role model for a lot of others, who are wanting to get into Aviation.

This is where, scholarships have the opportunity to change your life, it could be providing you with the financial means to undertake further studies or flight training, broaden your networks, and provide you a platform to inspire others, to take flight.

In the words of Michael Jordan “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen”, so to conclude stop waiting, and start writing!

Photo 5 – Left to Right: Captain Rachel Menkens, my family & I.

Angela Hipwell – WAI member and 2019 PanAir Flight Training Scholarship recipient

Scholarship Recipient Angela obtains her Multi Engine Rating thanks to PanAir & WAI AUSTRALIA

“My original plan for my time at PanAir Flight training, was to get a few hours closer to CPL requirements with some cross country navigation and a bit of instrument time.

The week began with some very average weather and it was looking unlikely that a navigation in VMC would even be possible!

So the plan changed and and instead I was charging full steam towards a Mulit-Engine Rating! Would I be able to meet the requirements in the remaining time and would there be a flight test slot available with a Flight Examiner?

SPOILER ALERT! Well the STARS Aligned…….

YES and YES!! After an intense week of briefings and flights, I passed my multi -engine rating and I am so pleased to have accomplished this skill and be able to utilize it for my future career.

Thank you to WAI Australia and PanAir Flight Training (Tammy, Charlie & Jeremy – patient instructor) for this huge opportunity to progress in my CPL pursuits”

Angela Hipwell – WAI member and 2019 PanAir Flight Training Scholarship recipient