WMU News

British scholarship winners begin aviation training

July 18, 2002

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. -- Three British citizens began flight training at Western Michigan University July 15 through a scholarship program named for a legendary World War II pilot who was a double amputee.

The three are recipients of the Royal International Air Tattoo Flying School Scholarships for the Disabled. The prestigious scholarships were established in 1983 in memory of Sir Douglas Bader, famed Royal Air Force flying ace and squadron commander who downed 23 enemy planes during the war, undeterred by the loss of both legs in a crash that occurred early in his flying career. More than 170 flight students have been trained through the program, which is intended to afford those with disabilities a chance to experience a sense of freedom and release from their physical restraints.

The scholarship recipients are: Delcan Breen, 34, of High Peak, Derbyshire, England; Ian Rutland, 41, of Pity Me, Durham, England; and Peter Kingdon, 59, of Colchester, Essex, England.

The three will be flying daily at WMU's College of Aviation facilities at W.K. Kellogg Airport in Battle Creek. For the first two weeks of their six-week stay, they will fly in the morning and attend ground school in the afternoon. During the final four weeks, beginning Monday, July 29, the students will fly in both the mornings and afternoons, Mondays through Fridays.

Official patron of the scholarship program is Queen Noor of Jordan, whose late husband, King Hussein, was instrumental in funding the scholarships from their inception and whose family continues to provide support today. The queen has often visited past recipients while their training was under way. Early recipients of the scholarships trained at RAF locations in England, but weather considerations caused the training sites to be moved to Big Bear City, Calif.; Port Alfred, South Africa; and now, WMU's aviation facilities in Battle Creek.

For additional information , contact Martin Grant in the College of Aviation at (269) 964-4982.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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