DARING Bethany Colburn has been handed her ‘wings’ after achieving her dream of flying an aircraft during a whirlwind five weeks in America.
The 22-year-old, who was born with cerebral palsy went to San Diego, California on a flying scholarship for five weeks.
Bethany, who works as a sheet metal technician, had harboured dreams of being a pilot in the RAF but was rejected due to her disability.
Determined not to give up on her dream, she discovered the charity Flying Scholarships for Disabled People, which sponsored her trip to San Diego.
Bethany, who lives in Gosport, said: ‘I was close to giving up on my dream before I found out about the scholarships.
‘I was thinking that this was the chance to do something that I’ve always wanted to do so I had to take the opportunity.
She added: ‘I loved every moment of it.
‘Just being in the air improved my well-being and changed my outlook on life.
‘I now stand up for myself a lot more than I would have had before.’
Bethany was awarded with a Wings Around the World salver at a presentation at a ceremony during the Royal International Air Tattoo in Gloucestershire.
The award is reserved for those who display ‘outstanding’ aviation skills during their course.
Bethany flew for about 20 hours during the course and says that the scheme boosted her self-confidence.
She added: ‘Before, I was always trying to prove myself. The course taught me to be proud of myself. They believed in me and now I feel so much more confident in everything that I do.’
Bethany was handed her ‘wings’ and salver by FSDP Patron His Royal Highness Prince Faisal of Jordan and Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, chief of the air staff.
The cost of the course, which is in the thousands and includes flying lessons and ground school as well as accommodation, was all paid by the charity. More than 400 people have had FSDP scholarships since 1983.