Katie Stokes: glider pilot and BWPA scholarship winner
One of our 2021 scholarship winners, Katie Stokes, was awarded the BWPA Flying High Scholarship to support her gliding; covering competition entry and launch costs. We caught up with her, to find out how she has been getting on.
How long have you been flying?
“I am now 21 and have been flying since I was given a trial lesson for a 16th birthday present. My first solo was just over a year later, and I have been in love with gliding and flying ever since.
“I am member of Lasham Gliding Society. I really enjoy spending time with the people I have met there and I try to fly as much as possible. When I am not flying, I work part-time at Lasham too, helping clean ‘planes, and I also work for the NHS Test and Trace programme.”
Your BWPA Flying High Scholarship was to support competition flying. How are you getting on?
“My scholarship funds have helped pay for some competition entry fees and aerotows. I achieved my goal of taking part in three competitions over the summer season and, as a result, managed 22 flights and over 50 hours of flying! Within a space of just six weeks I took part in the Husbands Bosworth Regionals, Grandsden Regionals and the Junior Nationals.
“I was not feeling confident last year, so it was important for me to use this season to work on that. It was great getting back in the air and trying competition flying for the first time! I am thrilled with how the season went. Not only did I have an amazing time and rebuilt my confidence, but I learnt a lot along the way.”
How did you feel about winning a BWPA scholarship?
“I wasn’t awarded a BWPA scholarship when I first applied for one in 2020, but that did not dishearten me. When I applied again this year, I couldn’t believe it when I got the call saying that I had been successful. Being a member of the BWPA has been so much more to me than financial support; it has been great meeting like-minded people who are just as enthusiastic about aviation as I am.”
What is next for you?
“Long term, I would like to become a commercial pilot. I love flying and want to be in the air as much as possible. I think gliding is a great starting point for anyone interested in aviation and anyone who wants to try something new. Aviation can be an expensive hobby, but there are opportunities for financial support and scholarships, which makes a huge difference. I would say to anyone who experiences rejections or setbacks: do not give up!”
Find out more about Katie and our other 2021 scholarship winners on our scholarship winners’ webpage.