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Sennheiser helps prospective pilots to live their dream
Over the past 30 years, Sennheiser has developed and manufactured some of the most popular pilot headsets in the aviation industry. From the biggest commercial jet to the smallest light aircraft, Sennheiser headsets provide the sound quality and dependability that thousands of aircrew around the world rely on to fly safely. Committed to encouraging budding pilots to realise their ambition, the company devised the Live Your Dream scholarship. The first flying school to join the scheme in the UK is the Goodwood Flying School, with their first UK winner announced in November.
Live Your Dream sees Sennheiser Aviation aiming to help relieve the financial burden of flight training by awarding a series of monthly scholarships to prospective young pilots. Applications are reviewed by an expert panel, with the most creative and exciting submission rewarded with one of the scholarships.
The scheme includes a £1000 contribution towards flight training, prizes donated by sponsors Airbox and Pooleys, and mentoring by Sennheiser's product ambassador for aviation, Captain Derek Spicer FRAeS. This year’s Professional Flight Training Show - held, appropriately, at the Heathrow Sofitel - saw Jacob Reynolds announced as the first winner.
“Aviation is highly addictive. Once you’re in you’re in, but it is difficult and expensive to get started,” says Derek, who is one of the most highly qualified airline training captains in the United Kingdom, having trained over 800 pilots on the Airbus A320, A330 and Boeing B737, as well as helicopters and classic aircraft.
“The Live Your Dream scholarship has been very successful for Sennheiser in the USA and is something that we really wanted to do in Europe, and specifically in the UK. As well as the financial help, it’s also about encouraging young people to experience aviation and get them to a level where they can go solo, which is an achievement in itself.”
Nineteen year-old Jacob has had the flying ‘bug’ since a chance trip in a glider six years ago. From there he has determinedly experienced a range of different kinds of flying, including gliders, powered aircraft and helicopters. He then joined the Goodwood Flying School, where he heard about the Live Your Dream opportunity and applied.
“Every single week I can’t wait to get into a plane and fly,” says Jacob. “I thought that there was no harm in applying, after all, you can never come off worse than before you applied!”
It was this positive attitude, as well as his sheer enthusiasm for all forms of flight, that impressed Derek and the panel most about Jacob’s application.
“We had a huge number of applicants, but what was most important was finding someone with genuine enthusiasm,” says Derek. “What particularly caught our eye with Jacob was that he’d done some gliding, he’d gone up in helicopters and powered aeroplanes. He has tried a number of things to see where he might like to go, which is entirely in tune with the theme of Live Your Dream.”
As well as being impressed with Jacob himself, Derek admits to being very pleased that the new Scholar is learning his craft at Goodwood, which he describes as “probably the best school in the country for private flying.” Given Goodwood’s Second World War role as RAF Westhampnett and that Derek also instructs on classic military ‘warbirds’, he is also delighted with the historic connection.
“It’s an opportunity for those of us that have been very fortunate in being at the top of the business to be able to mentor people who are keen to get involved,” he says. “I am really looking forward to working with Jacob.”
As well as the mentoring and financial help, Jacob has also been presented with a brand new Sennheiser S1 Passive headset, a one year subscription to RunwayHD, the Airbox iPad aviation mapping system with all the charts and subscriptions needed for the private pilots licence (PPL) course, including Pooley's Flight Guide. All of which will help Jacob to realise his ambition of becoming a professional aviator.
“I want to become a commercial pilot. It could be cargo or working up in the Northwest Territories. I have a friend who flies up there, it’s quite challenging and looks really interesting. I would love to get an aerobatic rating as well,” he says. “For me the scholarship is far more than just a start in the right direction. If I went into aviation without it, I would come out without a lot of advantages that this gives me. I’m so pleased, it’s amazing.”
"We are delighted to be supporting Sennheiser in the Live the Dream project. To have such an enthusiastic first student in Jacob is inspiring for us and, I hope, to those who will surely follow him. We are so pleased to help Jacob in his first steps towards a great future in aviation," says Sebastian Pooley, managing director of Pooleys Flight Equipment.
“Airbox Aerospace is also delighted to be able to support the Sennheiser Live Your Dream award in the UK. RunwayHD is loaded with everything a young pilot might need to get his or her PPL,” adds Airbox co-founder Tom Hedges. “We wish the winners every success in ultimately gaining their licenses.”
Bob Speller, head of Aviation Sales at Sennheiser UK, concludes. “Jacob has impressed everyone with his enthusiasm and commitment to developing a career in aviation. There is nobody better than Derek to help him further his dream and we are sure that, as well as being a model scholar, he will be a fine ambassador for the Live Your Dream programme.”