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BIGGIN HILL FLYING SCHOLAR STEVEN JOINS THE RAF

Steven Inch (left) meeting Air Marshal Greg Bagwell CB CBE MSc RAF, Deputy

Steven Inch (left) meeting Air Marshal Greg Bagwell CB CBE MSc RAF, Deputy

Airport worker Steven Inch has landed the job that he has been dreaming about ever since childhood days – flying as a pilot in the Royal Air Force.

The 24-year old Flight Operations Officer from Biggin Hill has recently won acceptance after convincing the RAF’s assessors following several previous attempts that his aptitude and ability now confirmed his potential for training as a service pilot.

Delighted with the result of his latest application, Steven attributes his acceptance by the service to his pilot training as the 2014 Nick Davidson Memorial Flying Scholar.

“It was my good fortune to win the coveted scholarship, so generously sponsored by the family of the late Nick Davidson.  The training that I received at the Surrey & Kent Flying Club for the Private Pilots Licence last summer has given me several hours of practical pilotage and increased confidence in airmanship that has enabled me to win a place for RAF pilot training” says Steven.

Steven will be leaving the airport in December after more than two years in his role as Flight Ops Officer, a job that he has enjoyed being a member of a close-knit team looking after arriving and departing aircraft and providing an essential service for aircrews.  He will join at the RAF College Cranwell (Lincolnshire) in January next year for Initial Officer Training, a 32-week course that will put him on the first rung of the ladder of a professional service career.

During a visit last month to Biggin Hill by Air Marshal Greg Bagwell for Battle of Britain 75th anniversary celebrations, Steven had the opportunity to meet the Deputy Commander Operations at RAF Air Command,   being introduced informally as one of the RAF’s latest recruits.

“We had a brief chat, which was very friendly.  He asked me what aircraft I hoped to be flying.  I mentioned Typhoon and he approved enthusiastically” commented Steven

Steven’s education includes a 1st class degree with honours in Aviation Management gained at Coventry University.  While attending university, he was a member of the University Air Squadron based at RAF Cosford.

Airport MD Will Curtis has congratulated Steven on his achievement in winning a place for RAF pilot training.

“Steven has been a most effective Flight Operations Officer throughout his time at Biggin Hill Airport.  He will be leaving us with our very best wishes for a successful career as a fighter pilot” says Will.

The Nick Davidson Memorial Flying Scholarship

 Editorial Notes

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 at Biggin Hill Airport 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 with Easyjet’s Airbus fleet and Nick’s wife Alina, accepted responsibility for establishing the plan.

The success of the first Memorial Scholarship in 2013, won by John Harrison who has since become an RAF trainee pilot, encouraged the Davidson family to fund a second flying scholarship in 2014 which was won by Steven Inch.

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Scholarship Winners

John Harrison – 2013

  • 22-year old from Pulborough, Sussex, gained his PPL in 2014
  • Former ATC cadet with 1015 Horsham Squadron.
  • Gliding Instructor a t 615 VGS Kenley.
  • Ambition – to be an RAF pilot.

Steven Inch – 2014

  • 24-year old from Biggin Hill
  • ATC cadet with 2427 Biggin Hill Squadron.
  • Has completed an ATC gliding scholarship.
  • Employed as a Flight Operations Officer at Biggin Hill Airport.
  • After training with Surrey & Kent Flying Club, gained his PPL this summer.
  • Ambition – to be an RAF pilot. Now accepted for training at the RAF College Cranwell, Lincs