Air League Scholars Find Success With Aer Lingus


The Air League extends its congratulations to 2023 PPL Scholar, Aaron MacLeod, and 2021 12 hour Scholar, Gary Shaw, who have each recently accepted a place on the Aer Lingus Future Pilot Programme.

Aaron, who is 22 years old and from the Isle of Lewis in the Western Isles of Scotland, was awarded one of the Air League’s coveted Full PPL Scholarships in 2023, enabling him to complete the initial stages of his training. He recently completed his first solo navigation exercise from London Elstree to Duxford. He is also a fully-licensed aircraft technician, working at London Gatwick. Aaron’s Scholarship was sponsored by The Stelios Philanthropic Foundation, and he will now continue his flight training with Aer Lingus for the next 18 months, before progressing to a role as a First Officer on the A320 fleet based in Dublin.

‘I really cannot thank The Stelios Philanthropic Foundation and The Air League enough for the support over the past year. I believe my experience interviewing and subsequently being awarded such a prestigious scholarship was one of the reasons I was selected by Aer Lingus. The situations I was exposed to in the scholarship such as making the decision to go around when the circuit pattern became too busy, really gave me the opportunity to showcase my aptitude for piloting during the interview.’ – Aaron

Gary, who is 27 years old and from Glasgow, Scotland, was awarded a 12 hour Scholarship by the Air League in 2021 sponsored by Adrian Swire. Gary’s background is in engineering, where he holds a BEng (Hons) in Electronic and Computer (Aerospace) Engineering. Gary began his PPL training at ACS Aviation in Perth, and moves to Spain to begin his journey to the cockpit of an A320 at the end of February.

‘I’ve been applying for the Aer Lingus Future Pilot Programme on and off since 2014 and this year I was invited to the assessment day and in the end was fortunately awarded this amazing opportunity. Hearing the news that I was successful was the best day of my life. There was a sense of relief and excitement in knowing that everything I have worked so hard for over the last 10 years had paid off. I was awarded a 12 hour scholarship by the Air League in 2021. This allowed me to start my PPL flight training at ACS Aviation in Perth, Scotland. Unfortunately, I won’t have time to complete my PPL as I move to Spain at the end of February, however I hope to come back to it later down the line. I was however able to complete all 9 theoretical exams and 40 hours training in the end. This really helped me at my assessment day as I was able to draw on real life experiences and lessons. I’m extremely grateful to the Air League for helping me get the ball rolling and also to Aer Lingus for giving me this once in a lifetime opportunity. I can’t wait to get started and have a fantastic career with them.’ – Gary

The Air League continues to award over 100 aviation-based Scholarships each year, providing a launching pad to young people from across the UK to begin their careers in the industry, who otherwise might not have had the inspiration, support or opportunity. We would like to wish Aaron and Gary good luck in their future endeavours.

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