YOUNGSTERS hoping to land a career in aviation were given first hand flight experience as part of a course at Cotsworld Airport this month.

Through the Aviation Scholarships, cadets aged between 14 and 18 flew solo in a variety of aircraft such as helicopters and aerobatic planes and were given tuition at the airport`s aviation ground school.

They were also given an insight into the life of air traffic controllers, flying instructors, engineers and enjoyed a special trip to RAF Brize Norton, where they got in the cockpit of a C130J simulator, before visiting a real version of the plane.

Cadet Olie Grainger-Williams, a Cirencester Kingshill School Year 9 pupil, said: “ It was absolutely amazing, it was the best eight days I have ever had.

“I want to come back next year – I have enjoyed it so much.”

Oli who has set his sights on a career as a commercial passenger jet pilot for British Airways added that the best part of the course was when he flew a Bulldog light aircraft.

Jasper Neal from Malmesbury, who wants to be an engineer in the RAF, was impressed by the amount of hands on learning he encountered during the two weeks of the course. “I didn’t expect the sheer trust they had in us,” he said.

The highlight for fellow Malmesbury School student Edward Mayhew, who lives close to the former Lyneham airbase and wants to join the RAF next year, was the chance to fly. “The freedom of controlling an aircraft was amazing.”

As part of the course, youngsters cruised the skies in gliders at nearby Cotswold Gliding Club, with guidance and tuition from officials from the club.

They were also able to visit a Gloucester control tower to see what air traffic controllers do and put their brains to the test by completing tricky aptitude tests on the tower’s simulator.

Ronan Harvey, owner of the Airport who funds the scholarships, said: “We have some great results with a lot of those taking part in previous year going into careers in the RAF, with some flying. It gives them all a good insight into aviation.”