Wigan teen wins scholarship at USA flight academy

Ben Molyneux (left)
Ben Molyneux (left)

A teenager is a step closer to his dream of becoming an airline pilot after winning a scholarship with a flight academy in the USA.

Winstanley College student Ben Molyneux secured his place with the National Flight Academy, in Pensacola, Florida, after winning a competition.

Participants had to submit a 500-word essay or video about a problem which will face the planet in 20 years.

The contest was run by Virgin Atlantic/Delta Airlines, so Ben chose carbon recapture as his topic as it is an initiative which Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson has invested a lot into in recent years.

It proved to be a good choice and he was contacted with details of his prize. As well as taking part in the scholarship over the summer, 17-year-old Ben has been invited to Virgin Atlantic’s headquarters at Gatwick Airport to view the aircraft hangar and find out more about careers within the aerospace industry.

Ben, a former student at St Peter’s Catholic High School who is currently studying A-levels in maths, computer science and economics, is no stranger to aviation.

He recently took his first solo flight from Blackpool Airport and aims to have his private licence by the end of the year. Ben said: “Winning the scholarship is the perfect prize for me. I’m hoping to join the RAF after college and eventually become an airline pilot - this experience will certainly support my future applications.”