Whether you are at school or university, there are lots of competitions, bursaries and scholarships focusing on aerospace that can help you develop your skills, win prizes and launch your aerospace career.


The University of Southampton's Future Flight competition, for students aged 11 to 19, allows you to start designing tomorrow's airliners today using the latest software. This year's prize for the winning design is a trip to the Airbus site in Toulouse, France to see the A380.

You must consider green issues when designing your aircraft to ensure that the future of aviation is sustainable. For lots of technical help and advice log on the Future Flight website ( www.future flight.org.uk). Deadline for this year's competition entries is 31 December.


This brand new competition requires teams of students aged 14 to 18 to build their own human-powered aircraft and, when complete, carry out a test flight. The team whose aircraft flies for the longest receive a trophy and a prize of £1,000.

Support is available to participants through the Royal Aeronautical Society's human-powered flight group, and you don't need to be an aeronautical engineer to enter; a college in Singapore built a successful human-powered aircraft using polystyrene and an aluminium tube! The competition is open to schools and youth organisations; for more information contact careers@raes.org.uk.


This is a well-established competition created by John Farley, former Harrier Test Pilot, in 1996, and open to teams of four (aged 16 to 18) from schools and youth organisations around the country. Each year a new brief is set focusing on aircraft design for military needs. The best 18 design teams are then invited to attend Cranfield University in August, where they get to fly in fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, hear talks from aerospace professionals and take part in workshops to develop their skills further. The overall winners get a £5,000 cheque, shared between team members and the sponsoring school/youth organisation. The title of next year's challenge is: "How can we provide persistence of air power over the battlespace?" Log on to www.imeche.org.uk/aerospace_challenge for more information on how to enter.


The Merlin Flight Simulation Group, in association with the Royal Aeronautical Society, will be running this unique competition again in 2007. It is open to students enrolled at UK universities designing an aircraft as part of a project. Around eight teams' designs are entered into the final, which takes place at a prestigious aerospace venue. Visit www.merlinsim.co.uk for 2007 details.


The Air League offers four flying competitions and one engineering competition each year. Learn to fly solo in just 10 days with a 12-15 hour flying scholarship, or you could try for a gliding scholarship. The Air League also run the Breitling balloon competition, which offers a full PPL (balloons) course. Visit www.airleague.co.uk for further details.



Each year the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators offers a number of PPL bursaries for budding pilots and the JN Somers scholarship. Visit www.gapan.org for more information.


The BGA run a gliding scholarships programme for people in full-time education aged 15-17, who have not yet flown solo. Visit www.gliding.co.uk for details.


The British Women Pilots Association ( www.bwpa.co.uk) offers a number of scholarships to women who want to learn to fly or improve their skills. The Royal Aero Club Trust ( www.royalaeroclub.org) also offers a small number of flying bursaries to flight-simulation enthusiasts who want to gain practical flying experience. Finally, the British Disabled Flying Association ( www.bdfa.net) began offering a number of flight trials to disabled people in 2006.


Future pilots could win the perfect prize and take to the skies

Obviously reading about aviation is great, but how do you fancy putting the things you've read about into practice? Well, you've come to the right place, as Everything Aerospace and the Royal Aeronautical Society Careers Centre are offering a free one-hour flying lesson in a two-seater light aircraft to a lucky reader - get ready to buckle up!

The flying lesson will be given by Old Sarum Flying Club based near Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Old Sarum airfield is the second oldest continuously operational aerodrome in the UK. Its aviation history goes back to 1917, when it was requisitioned from farm land for use by fighter and training aircraft.

The flying club was formed in 1992 and is responsible for the airfield and its historical buildings. Flying instructors are drawn from a wide range of backgrounds, both civilian and military, and the club offers a safe and fun place to learn to fly.

To be in with chance of winning this excellent prize just fill out the Everything Aerospace reader reply card and send it back to us (freepost) by 31 March 2007.


No purchase necessary. The winner will be picked at random. All applications must be received by 31 March 2007. Flight must be taken by 1 September 2007. Winners will be notified by post. No cash alternatives will be offered. The editor's decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into. Please refer to www.independent.co.uk/legal for The Independent's competition terms and conditions.