Pilot and Flying Scholarships and Bursaries


Do you like the thought of learning to fly and joining the coveted echelons of the aviator? But do you also dislike the thought of having to bleed £9000 into someone else’s bank account? Well, there is a solution – try and get a flying scholarship, and get someone else to pay for you!

There are several kindly schemes up and running by organisations who wish to promote our little industry amongst the masses, supported by very generous individuals and companies. Places are few, competition is fierce, and if you get a scholarship you are expected to work hard, but the rewards are massive.

Below you can read about where you can get these, and how you can make your bank account rejoice in happiness.

Aforementioned Kindly Scheme #1: Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators (GAPAN)

GAPAN’s primary mission is to sponsor and encourage “action and activities designed to ensure that aircraft are piloted and navigated safely by aviators who are highly competent, self-reliant, dependable and respected”, which is nice. I certainly wouldn’t want to share the skies with a bunch of incompetent, unsure, erratic and scorned idiots.

You've got your work cut out GAPAN!

You've got your work cut out GAPAN!

Most scholarships are trumpeted from January, with closing dates in April (sorry – you’ve just missed out this year), and interviews in June. You then have to complete your training by October, which could get a little intensive.

In 2009, there were eight fixed wing PPL courses (350 applicants), 4 Flight Instructor Rating courses (59 applicants), as well as a Jet Orientation course and a helicopter instructor course scholarships.

Looking at past winners, it would appear that being a member of Air Training Corps is a big tick in the box. Saying that, as long as you are a well rounded individual who has demonstrated some interest in aviationally related activities (merely saying I would really like to go fly-fly is not enough) is probably what they are looking for.

There is also a J N Somers Scholarship which is run every year. This is a single scholarship that will take an individual from nothing to full frozen ATPL, probably the holy grail in aviation training.

Full details on all of these courses can be found on the GAPAN website.

Aforementioned Kindly Scheme #2: The Air League

The Air League is subtly different from GAPAN in that it is mainly out to strengthen and promote the UK’s aviationally related industry. They offer scholarships to encourage young people to follow a career in aviation.

They don’t offer full PPL scholarships that you can apply for; the most being 12 hour credit towards an NPPL (but every little helps!), but there are around fifty per year. You have to be a young person, between 17 and 26, in order to apply. Apologies to elderly people.

Well... I didn't want to fly anyway. Humph.

Well... I didn't want to fly anyway. Humph.

There are also bursaries you can take advantage of if you already have a PPL. These are for 3-5 hours of advanced training, and there are no age limits on this.

If you manage to get onto any of these scholarships, the competition doesn’t end there. If you make good progress, and are a member of the air cadets, and have achieved the Duke of Edinburgh’s award, you may get the full Prince Philip Flying Scholarship which is an entire PPL.

As well as these fixed wing courses, there are also scholarships for ballooning, gliding and engineering.

Full details on how to apply can be found on the Air League’s website.

Aforementioned Kindly Scheme #3: RAF Association (RAFA)

These scholarships are open to Air Cadets as a thankyou for collecting for the annual Wings Appeal. There is one 35 hour, and four 12 hour scholarships.

Not much else to say about this scheme!

Full details on how to apply can be found on the RAFA website.

Aforementioned Kindly Scheme #4: Royal Aero Club Trust

The  Royal Aero Club Trust offers bursaries of up to £500, again to young people aged 16-21, in order to progress in their aviationally related path. Application forms are catapulted onto their site in September, and you have until March to fling them back to them again.

There are two main branches of bursary, those for people who are already pilots, who want to progress to the next level of licence, and one for flight simmers to get practical experience. This is also to encourage flight simmers to get out more.

(Sorry flight simmers).

More information on how to apply can be found on the Royal Aero Club Trust’s website.

So there you are. I hope that this will help to get you, and your bank account through these difficult economic times.

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20 Responses to “Pilot and Flying Scholarships and Bursaries”

  1. jacob phamola says:

    hi my name is jacob phamola aged 23 and i am currently busy with my ppl at marianair flying school in potchefstroom
    i am 80% complete with my theory and therefore i am requesting any financial aid to help me achieve my childhood dream
    please if there is anyone,anyperson that can assist me to achieve my dream please feel free to contact me.
    cell: (I’ve removed this, not sure if putting your mobile number for the world to see is a great idea. Especially when you consider profpilot’s audience. – ed)
    e-mail: jacobphamola@yahoo.com

  2. talha says:


    can i have information about the course itself and how should i apply for the bursary. Thanks

  3. profpilot says:


    Profpilot itself doesn’t offer any kind of flight training, or any bursaries. If you want to find out more about any of the bursaries mentioned in the article though, click on the links provided!

  4. Mia says:

    Hi, Any idea how scholarships for United States Airforce Works? What is the age eligibility?

  5. profpilot says:


    Sorry, I have literally no idea how the United States Airforce scholarship works. RAF joy yes, USAF joy no.

  6. Justin says:

    Hi, i would like to go to the integrated training. if i manage to get a scholarship will i be able to use it for integrated or is the scholarships are only for modular or anything like that?

  7. profpilot says:

    Essentially no, they’re just for modular, or for people who only want a PPL (other than the J N Somers shenanigans, where you obviously get a lot more than a PPL). If you were to get a scholarship, and fly the hours, then you would then have to repeat everything again within your integrated course (if you see what I mean). Integrated means they take you from zero – hero, even if you’re not actually at zero.

    Read our Modular vs. Integrated article.

  8. Letladi Mphahlele says:

    hi, I’m curretly in grade 12(matric) and would like to become a professional pilot. Can you please inform me about the bursaries you offer and notify me of the closing date.

  9. profpilot says:

    Profpilot.co.uk doesn’t offer any scholarships I’m afraid! I wish I was wealthy enough to, but sadly I am a mere barman.

    You can read more about the scholarships on offer by clicking the links in the article up there though!

  10. Warren says:

    I am 42 years old and have a PPL with 86+ hour, Ihave had a passion for flying for as long as I cam rember and would love to further my licence to a CPL with instructors ratinng and then hopefully ATPL, due to finacial resraints I have not been able to build hours! If there is any advice you could give or if anyone could assist, please feel free to contact me!

  11. Yaseen Khan says:


    I am in grade 10, & wuld like an organisation to sponser me to become a full fledged pilot. Can someone pls assiste me.


    Yaseen Khan

  12. Nosipho says:

    hi im 16 yrs old and desperately wanting to go into flight school. my mother cant afford to pay for my fees, please help me get a bursary or a scholarship! this has always been my dream and i cant see myself doing anything else. thats how badly i want to be a pilot

  13. Mr A.S says:

    Hey,im a 23yr old male,always n still wanting 2 b a pilot. Iv tried many attempts since the age of 18,from joining the army to applying myslf,but without any success,if anyone cn help me with finance or knw where i cn get financial assistance,plz let me knw…mr A.S @+22710484408

  14. Gerald says:

    Good day,

    Can you help me get a bursary or a scholarship to become a pilot.


  15. profpilot says:

    Gerald –

    All the schemes I know of are listed above – afraid I don’t know any South African ones.


  16. Marcus Mokgatle says:

    Good afternoon

    Please help me with a bursary/scholarship for a helicopter licence.


  17. profpilot says:

    Afraid I have no info with regard to helicopter scholarships. If you Google helicopter scholarship, there would appear that there are a few results there that might be helpful.

  18. mohamed says:

    if the dream is hard .
    if the life is hard.
    i think there is hope.
    i want to be pilot

  19. Henry says:

    i`m currently busy with studies at stellenbosch university,and is very kean to change my career. if possible i would like some info about a scholarship for a commercial pilot licence. thanks

  20. profpilot says:

    The only info I have is posted in the article above – sadly I am far too poor to offer any scholarships myself. Don’t know if that will help too much either – there’s a dearth of any free money in the industry at the moment. Now I’m glum.

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