Two Dundee-based pilots are flying the flag for females in aviation, after successfully completing their flight training.
Rachel Foyle and Kerrin Dutton celebrated the milestone last week before heading off on their future careers.
Rachel will be joining Loganair as first officer, and she will be the first student from the BSc Professional Pilot Aviation practice course at Tayside Aviation to fly Loganair’s Embraer jet.
With 700 flying hours under her belt, Rachel could be on course to become a captain in just two years.
Rachel began training aged 16, flew solo later that year and gained her fixed wing licence at 18.
She said: “My Grandpa gave my brother a trial lesson for his 17th birthday, and I had the opportunity to be the backseat passenger.
“I immediately caught the flying bug, and began training a few months later.
“Aviation was the only career I ever really wanted to pursue but, when I was leaving school and university, the opportunities in the industry were limited.
“It was then I discovered the degree programme at Tayside Aviation and it seemed like the perfect route into the industry.
“I’ve gone on to enjoy two fantastic years at Tayside Aviation, both as a student and as an instructor.
“Alongside studying I was able to get involved in a wide range of experiences, including a 10-day tour of Britain.”
Kerrin Dutton, who lived beside Prestwick Airport as a child, is now a flight instructor with Tayside Aviation.
She said: “Seeing such a variety of aircraft coming in and out daily fuelled my ambition further. It was only when inquiring at various flight schools that I began to realise not many women pursue this as a career but I was determined to do it.
“I started my training at Prestwick Flying Club where I flew solo before driving a car. I eventually decided to move my training to Tayside Aviation when I heard about the degree course. It finally gave me an avenue to begin my aviation career.”
Having flown a total of about 240 flying hours, Kerrin hopes to follow in Rachel’s footsteps, ideally flying the Twin Otter at Loganair operating around the islands of Scotland and, ultimately flying jets like Rachel.
Boss’s praise for Rachel and Kerrin
James Watt, managing director of Tayside Aviation, said the progess by Rachel and Kerrin has been great.
“It’s been absolutely fantastic to see Rachel and Kerrin progress here.
“Because students are eligible for financial assistance, the degree is a fantastic and much more affordable pathway to becoming a pilot, compared to gaining a licence privately.
“We hope that Rachel and Kerrin’s achievements encourage others to consider a career in aviation, particularly women.”
The degree programme accepts two intakes per year, in April and October, with around 24 students currently working towards their degree.
Full entry requirements for the degree course can be viewed at www.taysideaviation.com.