Farnborough Friday 2020


On the 24th July 2020, The Air League will be taking part in Farnborough Friday.

This exciting showcase of the very best in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is designed to give students, apprentices, graduates and young professionals considering a career in aerospace unprecedented access to the industry in a virtual setting.

With inspirational speakers from across aviation sharing their stories and offering advice on careers and next steps, Farnborough Friday is the perfect platform to get acquainted with the world of aerospace and aviation.

The Air League CEO, Nick West, will be hosting a session on Inspirational Women in Aviation from 10.15 am. He will be speaking to Kirsty Murphy, Patricia Mawuli Porter and to Ellie Carter about how they have made their aviation dreams a reality and how others can get involved in the industry.

Farnborough Friday is a great opportunity to learn more about careers in aviation and aerospace and is completely free to join. To join Nick and the panel and to take part in further activities, click here to sign up.

About our panellists

Kirsty MurphyPilot, The Blades

Kirsty was introduced to the idea of the RAF at a young age by her father who was a navigator on the Tornado GR1.

She wanted to fly aircraft from the age of 11 and as a result of attending boarding school, she was able to spend her extended holidays going to work with her dad and visiting the squadron, which she loved because it had a family atmosphere.

Kirsty’s first flying experience was when she was 16 years old, through the Air League Flying Scholarship which enabled her to gain 15 hours of flying experience.

After gaining her master’s degree, Kirsty joined the RAF and completed flying training on the Tucano and the Hawk T1. Her first tour with the RAF was as an instructor on the Hawk T1 at RAF Valley in Wales. She was subsequently posted to the Tornado GR4 and joined XIII Sqn at RAF Marham, with whom she flew operational sorties in Iraq.

In 2009 she became the first female pilot to be selected to fly with The RAF Red Arrows and went on to fly a total of 136 public displays and 133 flypasts in 11 different countries. In her last year, she was selected to be the Executive Officer. Kirsty considers the moment she found out she was selected to be one of The Red Arrows and describes it as ‘‘the best moment of my career, and I can still remember the incredible feeling – I couldn’t stop grinning’’.

After a final three year posting on promotion within the Flying Training Headquarters, Kirsty left the RAF in 2015. She said: ‘‘looking back on my career so far, I feel extremely lucky to have had such varying roles – instructional, tactical and displaying display flying. My favourite aircraft I’ve flown is The Hawk, but admittedly I would have loved the opportunity to fly the F35’’.

After 17 years in the RAF, Kirsty left and had a baby boy. She moved to Northamptonshire with her husband, Ben, and joined the Blades in spring 2016.

Now into her fourth display season, she flies in the Blade 2 position. Kirsty’s workday varies hugely. She has lots of training to do before the air show season begins, and once the summer starts every day is different depending on when and where the Blades are displaying. Kirsty also has an active role in events planning for the Blades, specifically managing bespoke, large scale, luxury events such as the Aston Martin DBS59 Ltd Edition handover event, held on the start-finish straight at Le Mans, the day before the Le Mans 2019 race commenced.

The Blades are part of 2Excel, an innovative aviation services business working across a range of industries including defence and security, engineering, events and disaster response. In 2017, 2Excel Engineering launched an apprenticeship scheme and today, has welcomed 17 apprentices to its Maintenance, Overhaul and Repair (MRO) site at Lasham Airfield.

Patricia Mawuli Porter – Director, Metal Seagulls

Patricia Mawuli Porter is the first civilian female Ghanaian certified pilot, she is also accomplished in building, maintaining and flying light aircraft. Furthermore, she is the only female to be factory trained/qualified to work on both Rotax Aircraft Engines and ULPower Aero Engines.

Despite a challenging start to life, Patricia undertook an apprenticeship in aircraft engineering, going on to become a pilot, flying instructor and Rotax iRMT instructor as well as flying humanitarian missions and photo/video surveillance flights. Furthermore, she established and ran a technical outreach school for girls, and then on moving to the UK in 2015, has gone on to be a Director of her own aviation company, Metal Seagulls, and become the first black female aircraft inspector for both the LAA and the BMAA. 

Ellie Carter – Youngest female solo pilot

Ellie Carter is a PPL and tailwheel pilot, having obtained her Pilots license on her 17th birthday and having previously soloed gliders on her 14th birthday.

Ellie’s ambition is to become a professional pilot, or given her love of Physics and Maths, to become involved in flight testing.

Ellie’s love of aviation was born from a childhood passion, as she does not come from a flight background. Following her entry into flight, Ellie is eager to inspire more people like herself to discover the amazing worlds of STEM and Aviation.

‘Aviation is an achievable dream that enables you to see the world differently, while science allow you to think about it differently.’ – Ellie Carter

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