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left to right: Joining forces to launch the 2014 scholarship are Robert Walters, Business Development Director, Biggin Hill Airport; Captain Gary Merchant, Scholarship Administrator; Anoop Singh Bamrah, Director of the Falcon Group of which Surrey & Kent Flying Club is part.
Picture : Fotomotion.

A second Nick Davidson Memorial Flying Scholarship has been funded by the Davidson family to enable another young person between the ages of 18 and 25 to learn to fly and qualify to the standard of a full Private Pilots Licence (PPL) at Biggin Hill Airport.

Following on from the initial PPL sponsorship of 2013 when a legacy from the late Captain Nick Davidson of British Airways who died from cancer in 2012 was established, his widow Alina said that the overall experience arising from Nick’s original intention had been heart-warming.

“As a family, we were enormously impressed that as many as 45 keen youngsters applied for the scholarship and the eventual winner, John Harrison, achieved so well on the course.   For us, the scheme had high value and purpose in memorialising Nick’s first professional flying job as an instructor at Biggin Hill and the flying career that he enjoyed so much.  This has encouraged us to want to continue in 2014” says Alina.

Robert Walters, Business Development Director at Biggin Hill Airport, welcomes this valuable new opportunity.

“Nick Davidson’s ambition to aim high in his flying career was shaped as a result of his time as a dedicated flying instructor with the Surrey & Kent Flying Club.  It is inspiring for all of us that this marvellous new legacy returns to Biggin Hill to support another young local person with similar ambitions” he says.    

Applications for the scholarship are now open to young men and women between the age of 18 to 25 who aspire to a career as a commercial pilot or in a key area of civil aviation.

The Nick Davidson Memorial Flying Scholarship is offered in association with Biggin Hill Airport Ltd and the Surrey & Kent Flying Club, both of whom are providing facilities and services to support the legacy funding.  The overall value of the training package is £10,000.

Guidance Notes for applicants for the 2014 scholarship are posted on the Biggin Hill Airport website –    

Applications for the Nick Davidson Memorial Flying Scholarship 2014 close at 1700 on Thursday 17th April.  Applications should be addressed to Sally Powell, PA & HR Assistant to the MD,  Terminal Building, Biggin Hill Airport,  TN16 3BH.   The Selection process will commence during the week after Easter.   Interviews will be held in early May.

Nick Davidson was a Captain on the British Airways Airbus A320 fleet.   Following his time as an Instructor at Biggin Hill during the early 1990’s, he flew night mail in light turbo-props with Willow Air from Southend Airport.  As his career developed, he transferred to City Flyer at Gatwick flying UK and European passenger services.  He joined British Airways in 1998 as First Officer with the Boeing 757 fleet, moving to long haul on the 747 as Senior First Officer.   In 2008, he proudly gained his command and joined the Airbus fleet as Captain.  He passed away in 2012 from terminal cancer.

His long-standing flying friend Gary Merchant, a Captain with Easyjet, who has followed a similar career path, explained the background to the original legacy.

“When Nick became terminally ill in 2011, he discussed with me the terms of his Will.    He wanted a positive action for the benefit of aviation to be created after his death.    The idea of a worthwhile scholarship for a deserving young person was born” he said.

“I accepted the responsibility to nominate the most suitable candidate from applications received.  The winner of the scholarship was to have proved by interview to be a highly motivated individual who had already shown initiative and commitment to an aviation career.  As all the flying training was to be at Biggin Hill Airport, the most likely candidates will be local – i.e. within a radius of 15 miles” said Gary Merchant.

Gary first met Nick when he joined the Surrey and Kent Flying Club in 1990 to learn to fly and Nick was his instructor. They became firm friends, Nick eventually convincing Gary to become a commercial pilot. 

Guidance for Applicants

– Application is open to young men and women between the age of 18 and 25.

– The selected applicant will be highly motivated, already having shown initiatives in seeking a career in aviation.

– The winner will need to be able to allocate sufficient time during 2014 to complete the 45-hour PPL course, the associated ground examinations and the final flying test.

– Ideally the applicant candidates will live in the local area – i.e. within a 15 mile radius from the airport.  Travel costs are not included in the funding.

– Applicants will be expected to explain in a covering letter the particular reasons why they should be granted the scholarship and to provide a CV of career to date.

– Short-listed applicants will be required to undergo aptitude tests and a basic pre-medical exam to establish suitability for flying training and award of a PPL.   Arrangements will be made for attendance at the airport during May for an interview with the appointed selection panel.

– Applications in writing to be sent to Sally Powell,  PA and HR Assistant to the Managing Director, Biggin Hill Airport Ltd, Passenger Terminal, Biggin Hill Airport, Bromley TN16 3BH. Please mark the envelope ‘Nick Davidson Memorial Flying Scholarship 2014’

– Candidate enquiries to Captain Gary Merchant, Scholarship Administrator,  M:  07957  359139

– Closing time and date is 1700 on Thursday 17th April 2014.