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Two new Nick Davidson Memorial Flying Scholarships are being funded by the Davidson family to enable two more young persons between the ages of 15 and 25 to learn to fly and qualify to the standard of a full Private Pilots Licence (PPL) at Biggin Hill Airport.  Individual scholarship will be offered for 2017 and 2018 following interviews for all applicants before a selection panel.

The new series is promoted and managed in association with London Biggin Hill Airport.   The scheme now benefits from welcome new support by Shipping & Airlines, Adams Aviation Supply Company and the Bamrah family.   Flying training will be allocated to instructors at the Surrey and Kent Flying Club.

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 have been enormously impressed by the reaction to the scheme and by the achievements of the winners of the first two scholarships, John Harrison and Steven Inch.   John is studying for his professional airline pilot’s licence and Steven is now under training to be a fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force” she says

“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.  We are most grateful for the additional sponsorships that has now been so willingly committed” says Alina.

Applications for the 2017 scholarship are now open to young men and women between the age of 15 to 25 who aspire to a career as a professional pilot or in a key area of civil aviation.  Applicants must be capable of passing a CAA Class One medical examination and to be available for interview at Biggin Hill Airport in September and October this year. For the winner, flying training will commence in the Spring of 2017.

The overall value of the training package is £12,000.  It includes 45 hours of flying, ground school and related examinations, all instructional books and equipment and the final handling test.  It does not include the cost of medical examinations or the PPL issue by the CAA.

Guidance Notes for applicants for the 2017 scholarship are posted on the airport website –

Applications for the Nick Davidson Memorial Flying Scholarship 2017 should include the applicant’s Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a letter of application setting out why the applicant should be awarded the scholarship.

The closing date for applications is 1800 on Friday 5th August.  Applications should be e-mailed to   Alternatively, applications can be mailed to Melanie Courtney, Terminal Building, Biggin Hill Airport, Bromley, TN16 3BH.  Please mark the envelope ‘NDMFS’

The Selection process will be held in September and October.

Nick Davidson Memorial Flying Scholarships

Editorial background

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, explains 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 required to prove 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 London 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 15 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 2017 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 requested 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.
  • Applications should be e-mailed to or submitted by mail to in writing addressed to Melanie Courtney, Terminal Building, Biggin Hill Airport, Bromley TN16 3BH.    Mark the envelope ‘NDMFS’ 2017’
  • Candidate enquiries to Captain Gary Merchant, Scholarship Administrator, M:07957 359139
  • Closing time and date is 1800 on Friday 5th August 2016.

Issued by Biggin Hill Airport Ltd –

Media contact is Simon Ames – Head of Communications – M:  07785 745857