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Date posted: 12-09-2014
John Harrison, the candidate who won the first Nick Davidson Memorial Flying Scholarship, has gained his Private Pilots Licence (PPL) after completing the 45-hour training course with the Surrey & Kent Flying Club at Biggin Hill.
He was presented with his brand new Civil Aviation Authority licence by Squadron Leader Jim Turner, the leader of the RAF’s Formation Aerobatic Team ‘The Red Arrows’ at a special ceremony recently at Biggin Hill Airport.
John was selected from more than 40 aspiring applicants for the first scholarship when it was inaugurated in 2013. He said that his training had been an amazing experience.
“I felt privileged to be awarded the scholarship in honour Captain Nick Davidson, such a dedicated pilot who tragically died so young. I have enjoyed the pilotage and airmanship training – it was challenging and enormously rewarding. The ground examinations required concentrated study, but the subject matter was always so fascinating” he said.
Alina Davidson, wife of the late Captain Nick Davidson, said that she was thrilled that the first flying scholarship scheme had reached a successful conclusion.
“Many congratulations to John Harrison for his new qualification and we now wish him good fortune for his future career in aviation” she said. John has applied to join the Royal Air Force as a pilot.
“Our family is now moving forward with sponsorship for a second Nick Davidson Memorial Flying Scholarship and we are pleased that the selection committee has now met and that a 2014 Flying Scholar has been nominated – Steven Inch, who works as a Flight Operations Officer at Biggin Hill Airport” said Alina.
The scholarship schemes are encouraged and supported by Biggin Hill Airport Ltd and by the Surrey & Kent Flying Club.
Nick Davidson was a Captain with the British Airways Airbus A320 fleet when he was diagnosed with bladder cancer in early 2011. Tragically, Nick succumbed to this terrible disease in 2012. He was 49.
Nick’s first flying job was as a flying instructor with the Surrey & Kent Flying Club from 1989 until 1993. He moved on to fly the turboprop Embraer Bandeirante with Willow Air on night mail and newspaper runs from Southend. After two more years, he transferred to London Gatwick to fly passenger services on the ATR42/72 for Cityflyer. In 1998, he joined British Airways, starting as a First Officer on the Boeing 757, stepping up as a Senior First Officer on the Boeing 747. After successfully passing his command course, he joined the Airbus fleet in 2008 as Captain.
When Nick became ill, he discussed with his long-standing friend Gary Merchant his wish upon after his death to leave a legacy for a fully-sponsored PPL for a deserving person who was seeking a career in aviation. Gary Merchant, a former instructor with the Surrey & Kent Flying Club, now a Captain on EasyJet’s Airbus fleet and Nick’s wife Alina, accepted responsibility for establishing the plan.
The success of the first Memorial Scholarship in 2013 has encouraged the Davidson family to fund a second flying scholarship in 2014.