Over the past 10 months Ely Air Cadet Ariyaana Khanom of 1094 (Ely) Squadron has been participating in the Fantasy Wings Programme.

This is a multi-agency, multi-company project to encourage underrepresented groups to seek out careers in the aviation industry.  

On Saturday (July 6) Ariyaana attended The Fantasy Wings' annual national conference.  

Fantasy Wings is a programme that was created to give women and people of colour a platform to enter and excel in the aviation industry.

Ariyaana was fortunate enough to secure a place on the Fantasy Wings programme.  She first had to write an application to show why she should be one of the chosen candidates. 

Ariyaana attended mentoring and networking sessions in London where she had the opportunity to meet people in the aviation industry, such as pilots, engineers, flight instructors as well as senior figures  from airlines, aviation companies the Royal Air Force and agencies such as the Civil Aviation Authority. 

For her application, Ariyaana wrote an essay and made a video, detailing why she should be awarded one of three fully funded private pilot licence training courses, and the winners of these would be announced at the annual conference.

At the conference,  although Ariyaana was not one of the three lucky Private Pilots' Licence winners, she was one of the 50 trial flight winners, out of approximately 1000 people in the programme.

Ariyaana also received a certificate for completing the programme and since she was one of the trial flight winners, she also won a signed and personally dedicated copy of a book written by Ricky Ellcock an ex-England cricketer and the first black airline captain with Virgin Atlantic Airlines.  

Ricky's hopes of playing Test cricket for England were cruelly thwarted by injury so he relocated to the USA and qualified as a commercial airline pilot.  

Ariyaana said "I am so incredibly grateful that I was able to take part in the Fantasy Wings programme and attend the conference where I got to speak to flight instructors/examiners and senior representatives from British Airways, EasyJet, Jet2 and the CAA.

"Everyone's speeches were so moving and inspiring, and I can't wait for my trial flight. " 





John Donoghue 


Flight Lieutenant RAFAC