Belfast teens flying high as Prince's Trust offers opportunity to be pilots
Two aspiring pilots from Northern Ireland had a date with royalty yesterday when they met the Prince of Wales as part of an initiative to support young people seeking careers in flying.
Belfast teenagers Frank Bozo and Morgan Pettigrew are among those selected to be the first to benefit from the Prince's Trust Flying Scholarship.
As part of the RAF 100 Legacy, aviation company L3Harris will deliver The Prince's Trust Flying Scholarship, which will support three young people a year for the next 10 years.
The scholarship aims to support L3Harris' and the Prince's Trust's goal of increasing diversity within the aviation industry and supporting more people to achieve their dream of becoming a commercial airline pilot.
The programme will deliver a streamlined training course at L3Harris Airline Academy in Bournemouth on single-engine aircraft.
The young people are passionate about flying and were chosen for the scholarship after taking part in a selection day at Aldergrove back in March.
They will undertake their training from this September.
The Prince's Trust cadets had the opportunity to meet Prince Charles yesterday at the official opening of L3Harris Technologies' London Training Centre, where they also took part in a flight simulation.
Frank (17), a pupil at Ashfield Boys' School in Belfast, is currently completing the Pathways programme with Queen's University Belfast which will help his goal of attending Queen's to study Business Management.
In September, Frank will be returning to school to complete his A-Levels.
He said it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet Prince Charles.
"He seemed genuinely interested in what we will be doing and certainly knew his stuff when it came to planes," he added.
"I was so happy to be selected for the scholarship and can't wait for our first training session in September.
"I have always dreamed of flying a plane, but never thought I would get the opportunity.
"When I heard about this scholarship I jumped at the chance to attend the selection day at Aldergrove."
Joining Frank will be Morgan, also 17 and a pupil at Malone College, Belfast, where he is head boy. After completing his A-Levels next year, he is hoping to study Sports Science at John Moores University in Liverpool.
Morgan said: "The Airbus simulator was really easy to operate and an amazing experience - they even provided us with a Belfast skyline so it felt like we were flying over our home city."
Mark Dougan, Northern Ireland director of The Prince's Trust, said it was an "incredible opportunity" for young people.