Joel Goldthorpe has been hooked on flying since age 15 when his father bought him a pilot experience flight trial at the Marlborough Aero Club in August 2015.
“The first flying experience left me wanting more and cemented in my mind that aviation was the career path I was going to follow,” says Joel. “Flying is my passion and my aspiration is to have a career as pilot.”
Today his dream to earn his wings is even closer than ever before, thanks to being awarded the 2017 ServiceIQ Gateway Flying NZ Flight Training Scholarship.
Touching down after that initial flight, Joel put plans in place to help him be ready for take-off when it came time to leave Marlborough Boys’ College this year.
At Marlborough Aero Club, he volunteered to help out with whatever chores needed doing, and he worked several part-time jobs to pay for as many flying hours he could afford.
In the spring, he was one of 111 fledgling pilots on ServiceIQ’s popular Gateway Aviation training programme for secondary school students.
Joel also managed his first thrilling solo flight and achieved 15 credits in four aviation unit standards as part of his Gateway Aviation training. In an action-packed year, winning the 2017 ServiceIQ Gateway Flying NZ Flight Training Scholarship tops things off in high style.
More than a badge of honour, the scholarship may well bring a sigh of relief for it puts $2,000 in Joel’s pocket for pilot flight training.
“Cost is my biggest obstacle because I’m not only working on increasing my flying hours, but also earning the money I need to pay to get the hours,” says Joel.
With no shortage of motivation, the determined 16-year-old has mapped out how to achieve his ultimate career.
His ambitious plan is to apply to attend Southern Wings Flight Training Centre in Auckland next year. To be accepted for this next level without completing year 13 at school, he must first pass all six Private Pilot Licence (PPL) exams in just 42 days.
“Getting into flight school is not an easy task and will mean spending as much time as possible at the Marlborough Aero Club and studying in and out of the aircraft. Sitting one exam per week and passing will be a major challenge but one I am willing to take. Being successful with the scholarship will allow me the resources to be able to do this.”
Cheering him on is Marlborough Aero Club Chief Flight Instructor Shaun Davies who has charted Joel’s steady climb and supported his scholarship application: “Joel is a very hard-working and considerate young man whose achievements since beginning at the Aero Club are numerous. He has helped out on many occasions from regularly doing duty pilot on weekends and cleaning aircraft or sweeping the hangar out. He has self-funded his flying to First Solo level and has almost completed his Solo flight consolidation. I know he will put the scholarship to good use,” says Shaun.
Joel is the second recipient of a ServiceIQ Gateway Flying NZ Flight Training Scholarship that is designed to give standout students much-needed financial support to get a great career off the ground.
Gateway to the sky
ServiceIQ’s Aviation Gateway Flying Programme is a fantastic way for students who are interested in aviation to get a feel for what it’s like to be a pilot and to gain an understanding of different areas of the industry.
If the passion is to be a pilot, this first-time experience can help a student gain acceptance into full time flight training.
Students do their training with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) qualified instructors at a local aero club during term time. The programme usually takes about 10 weeks, and normally runs between 1.00pm and 3.30pm.
For those students with the motivation and ability, Gateway also offers the opportunity to gain real on-the-job experience and/or knowledge from aviation workplaces.
Workplaces may include local aero clubs, airlines, airline agents, air charter services, aircraft sales and maintenance, air traffic control and air freight companies to name a few. Aero Clubs generally construct a programme to suit their location and advertise this to schools which then select the right students to participate in the Gateway programme. ServiceIQ has various Aviation Gateway programmes for potential pilot applicants around the country, and some for aeronautical engineering in Christchurch and Auckland.
Scholarship recipient Joel Goldthorpe (centre), with Marlborough Aero Club’s President Craig Anderson (left), and Chief Flying Instructor Sharn Davies (right)