Stories From Past Scholarship Recipients

Grace Walker - 2020 PanAir Online Theory and WAI Australian Chapter/Co Gear Inclusive Clothing Kit Scholarship Winner

Scholarships, more than just money.

I received the Pan Air Online Scholarship and the Co Gear scholarship. I am using the online theory for my instrument theory training. I love the Co Gear pants and boots. The pants are now my flying pants which are so comfortable in varying weather and functional and the boots are perfect for a hard day’s outdoor work. Since receiving the scholarship, I have reached the 100hours benchmark and achieved my Private Pilot’s License. I have gained confidence and completed a L1 Maintainer’s course through Recreational Aviation Australia.

Even better than monetary reward, I feel I have made connections to other women. I feel more understood and have other women who I can relate too and ask for advice. This network encourages me to continue in my goals in aviation. Women in Aviation International Australian Chapter (WAI)  is an invaluable organisation, not just for information and resources, but for friendships and community. I am fortunate to be part of the SOAR program, a mentorship program provided by WAI . I feel this adds support and comradery to the varied goals of women in different stages of their aviation careers and am sincerely grateful for the opportunity.

Receiving the scholarship has not only supported me with online training and appropriate clothing and boots, but given me so much more. The connections and comradery are invaluable. The networking and feeling part of something bigger help me keep my momentum. Being in the 8% can feel isolating, but organisations such as WAI make you feel like we are part of the 92%. I would encourage you to apply because you are not just potentially gaining financial support, but access to encouragement, advice, networking and above all friendships, which are priceless.

Michelle O’Hare - 2019 WAI Australian Chapter Scholarship Winner,

Michelle's scholarship leads to an Aerobatic endorsement and a 2nd place medal at the NSW Aerobatic Championships.

In 2019 I was awarded the WAI Australian Chapter $2,500 scholarship.  This scholarship enabled me to complete my aerobatics endorsement in a Robin 2160i with the Australian Aerobatic Academy.  
Since completing my aerobatics endorsement I continued my training and was able to recently compete in the NSW Aerobatic Championships at Narromine Airport (15-17 October 2020).
Flying in the Entry Category of the competition required me to fly a sequence each day of various manoeuvres including wingovers, loops, stall turns, rolls and steep turns.  Flying the manoeuvres was only part of the challenge.   The other part was making sure that I could understand and adjust my flight for the wind so that the judges would be able to clearly see and score me from their position on the ground.   
The competition concluded with a presentation ceremony where I was excited to win the 2nd Place medal for the Entry Category.  I really enjoyed the challenge of flying in my first State aerobatics competition and I am looking forward to continuing my training so that I can progress to the next category and compete again 
next year.    
Thank you very much to WAI for the assistance with the scholarship!  I really appreciate it!   

Nerita Somers, WAI Australian Chapter member and 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