Sky's the limit for schoolgirl Lucy on her work experience week at Phoenix Aviation at Solent Airport

A SCHOOLGIRL from Drayton is set to fulfill her dreams next week when she gets the chance to take the controls of a Piper PA28 Warrior aircraft

Schoolgirl Lucy Jenkins, 15, has always wanted to be a commercial airline pilot
Schoolgirl Lucy Jenkins, 15, has always wanted to be a commercial airline pilot

While most Year 10 pupils may visit a factory or work in a shop to gain experience of the world of employment, Springfield School pupil, Lucy Jenkins, 15, will get the chance to soar above the clouds over the Solent.

Lucy said: ‘I’ve always loved planes and am so excited about next week. This is a fantastic opportunity and I’m very grateful to be given this chance.’

After speaking to the Education Business Partnership as part of a careers service at her school, Lucy was told there were no work experience placements available in the aviation industry.

Schoolgirl Lucy Jenkins, 15, in the cockpit of an aeroplane. Next week she will get to take the controls of a plane for real.

Determined to follow her dream, Lucy set about organising her own placement and contacted Phoenix Aviation at Solent Airport - a flying school and general aviation company.

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Director Frank Thompson said: ‘I had stopped taking work placements but when Lucy came to see me she was just bubbling with her enthusiasm for aviation and I thought “we need to give this young girl a chance”.’

As well as getting the chance look at plane maintenance and use the school’s simulator, Frank also plans on getting Lucy airborne.

Director of Phoenix Aviation, Frank Thompson, is welcoming schoolgirl Lucy Jenkins for a week of work experience.

‘It’s obviously weather dependent but I want to give her the chance to get up in a plane and take the controls,’ he said.

‘I’m so excited at the chance to go in the cockpit,’ added Lucy.

Lucy has always wanted to be a pilot and hopes to one day become the youngest female commercial pilot in the country.

‘The youngest woman became a pilot at the age of 26 and I would like to achieve this by the age of 25. Apparently only 4.77 per cent of commercial pilots are female,’ she said.

Frank added: ‘One of our aims is to get more young women involved in the aviation industry and I have a number of women flying with me. One of my pilots, Ariane Edge, who is now 20 and works as an operations assistant, first came to me for work experience at a similar age to what Lucy is now. It just shows what can be done.’

Lucy said her desire to fly was inspired by a love of travel.

‘I want to see the world and my favourite destination to fly into would be India - it has such a fascinating culture.

‘I first of all need to get good grades in maths and physics A-levels and then my plan is to go to a commercial pilots school such as the L3 Aviation Academy in Southampton,’ she said.

However, with training costs of up to £90,000, Lucy hopes to get sponsorship from one of the major airline companies.

Lucy added: ‘Easyjet had a sponsorship scheme to increase the number of female pilots and so hopefully this will continue after coronavirus.’

Lucy had originally arranged her placement for the start of July but it had to be postponed due to lockdown restrictions.

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