Mid North Coast youngsters are being given their wings as the Hastings District Flying Club (HDFC) awards three flying scholarship for 2019.
The $1500 scholarships were awarded to St Josephs Regional College student Connor Warneken, St Paul's College Kempsey student Amy Irving and MacKillop College student Dior Toppazzini.
The beginner pilots have aspirations of being a Royal Australian Air Force officer, Royal Flying Doctor Service pilot and rural veterinarian pilot.
HDFC received twelve flying scholarship applicants during the year, final award winners were chosen based on interviews and introductory flights.
Sixteen-year-old awardee Connor Warneken, who has completed community work with the State Emergency Services said he hopes to become a pilot on jet or cargo aircraft.
"I've been in the Air Force cadets for nearly two years so I've got that interest in aviation. This scholarship allows me to start flying and go with that passion for aviation," he said.
"You get to see everything differently from the air and it's a different perspective on everything. Recently with the fires around Port Macquarie you can really see the areas that have been burnt out and the impact it has had.
"I'd like to go into the Royal Australian Air Force eventually after school so this is a good stepping stone to that.
"My first choice of career would be as a pilot or even an aviation engineer. I'm interested in the military-use planes such as the new F-35 jet, but the bigger cargo aircraft such as the C-17 Globemasters are also pretty cool.
"Military aircraft have that speed and agility which make them a bit of an adrenaline rush but also those bigger cargo aircraft are specialised in their role.
"I'm extremely thankful to receive a sponsorship like this because it's something I probably wouldn't have been able to do without it. It's really vital in allowing me to follow that passion for flight."
Successful candidates cover $1,500 of their own funds to provide a combined $3,000 credit toward aircraft hire. Access to instructors, briefing costs, HDFC membership and Basic Aeronautical Knowledge theory kits are provided by the club.
Awardees are tutored by recreational aviation instructors in a club Sling aircraft over seven days a week.
"This year one of the scholarships is being financed by the Ludriks and Baker families from Wauchope. We are extremely grateful to Jimmi, Mathew and their families for their wonderful support," said HDFC President Rod Davison.
"Both Jimmi and Mathew were previous recipients of a HDFC scholarship and are now flying with Cathay Pacific.
"As one of the leaders in Recreational Flying Training, we have highly qualified instructors who have experience in many facets of aviation.
"We consider it our duty to continue to encourage youths to take to the skies and keep looking up. Passion must be nurtured by the right experience for their talents to soar.
"The passion for aviation is available to everyone to enjoy and it will continue to bring people together.
"Awarding scholarships to dedicated youths is their way of giving back to the community and keeping the joy for aviation vibrant through the years. We congratulate Connor, Amy and Dior for winning the 2019 HDFC Flying Scholarships."
The HDFC scholarship is awarded for professional interest in aviation. Scholarship training is valid for 12 months and leads to a Recreational Aviation Australian pilot certificate.
The HDFC has awarded 33 flying scholarships since 1961. The Club was formed in September 8, 1958 and now has a membership of 165 people.
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