By Marie Reddy
In July of this year, Mark Clulow, EAA 322 Honorary Treasurer proposed that Chapter 322 sponsor a pilot bursary to assist a suitable candidate reach their dream.
The programme was intended as a once-off bursary and to see what the uptake would be. The bursary program was confirmed at the EAA 322 August monthly meeting and was launched 2 days later via email to members as well as social media platforms.
The first response with all required documentation was received within 24 hours of launching the program. Applications were open for the month and closed on 31 August 2021. With seven candidates in total, the verification process began.
To ensure that the process was fair to all applicants and flying schools, only the administrator was exposed to the applicant documentation and details. All applicant details were kept confidential – even from the panel that was to decide on the successful applicant. The panel were issued with a schedule including the Applicant allocated number, their age, confirmation that the required criteria were met, and their letters of motivation.
Mark Clulow headed a panel of long time EAA Members, which met on 14 September to review all applicants. Two applicants were disqualified as they did not meet the requirements, there were five excellent candidates to choose from.
After much discussion and review of the motivation letters, all panel members agreed that Applicant #5 was the most suitable candidate for the pilot bursary. Only once all agreed that #5 was the successful applicant was the identity of the applicant and the flying school revealed.
Letters were sent to all applicants who were awarded EAA 322 membership cards on 15 September. Arrangements were made to meet at Panorama Airfield for a short introduction and congratulations ceremony at the student’s flying school
Shanley Coetzee was the youngest candidate and is undertaking his PPL with Shami Orri as his instructor at Johannesburg Flying Academy, owned by Alan Stewart. Congratulations to 18-year-old Shanley Coetzee on being awarded the first EAA 322 pilot bursary. Shanley also got his learner licence the same week and his mother shared that he regards it as his “lucky week”.
Thanks to EAA 322 committee and members for allowing this bursary to be undertaken. Special thanks to the Bursary program team.
Visiting Panorama Airfield on 15 September (which was planned before the panel’s decision), I landed to see one student washing aircraft at the flight school. I recognised him from the documents that were submitted with the bursary applications as #5. It just made me feel that the right decision had been made.