Keep Asher Flying!

Imagine having a dream, a passion, a career goal as a child, knowing for certain that is what you want to spend the rest of your life doing. So determined to achieve that goal, you study hard, achieve top grades, join the cadets, enlist in a RAF university air squadron, graduate from university, secure a place on a Pilot Training Course only to discover that due to your lack of finances, your years of focus, dedication and hard work may all be in vain.


Growing up in the east end of London, society’s expectation of someone from my background was to barely make it through secondary school. So when I decided at the age of 6 that I wanted to be a pilot, people laughed at the idea. However, as I got older my passion and determination to achieve this dream grew stronger and stronger. So much so, that on my 13th birthday my mum arranged for me to have a flying lesson, cementing my passion for flying indefinitely.

Every decision I made thereafter, both academic and extracurricular, has been in preparation for this opportunity.  In November 2017, I embarked on an Integrated EASA Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) course at Airways Aviation Academy Oxford.


The cost of the course is £89,980. However, due to the confidence Airways Aviation placed in me, based on my initial assessment scores they awarded me a £10,000 scholarship, which left me with a balance of £79,980 to find. With this type of course, there is no student loan or other Government funding.  After using my entire savings and even with continued support from family and friends, I am now unable to complete the course until I raise my final instalment. 

Throughout my education I was repeatedly told that if I work hard and achieve good grades anything is possible. Despite this, the reality proved to be much harder than initially communicated as finances are a greater obstacle than aptitude.

Despite the challenges, through grateful donations and hard work, I have paid a large portion of my fees, however I still have an outstanding balance of £14,886 (updated Jan 2019). I ask for your support to raise this shortfall. 

The numbers may look daunting, but as a collective I believe the target is achievable. The more people involved, the better our chances of reaching the target. So I'm asking you to please donate what you can, please share my story with family, friends and colleagues as well as across your social media platforms.

I want to thank you in advance, not only for turning my lifelong dream into a reality but ultimately, I believe this journey places me in a position to inspire and motivate other young people to look beyond their material limitations and not be defined by their current circumstances.


The Background Story:
Desperate to get back in the air, following my first flying lesson, I embarked on several fund raising initiatives and managed to raise enough money for a few more lessons. However, this was a timely process hence I enrolled in the Air Training Corp (ATC) as a cadet, where I was exposed to both fixed wing and rotary flying.

I then progressed on to university where I studied BSc (Hons) Aeronautical Technology and continued to nurture my hunger for flying by securing a place on a Royal Air Force University Air Squadron (UAS), based at RAF Cosford. 


Upon graduating, my zeal for aviation only grew stronger. I joined British Airways as cabin crew, which has given me a rounded vision of the importance and respect that should be ordained to all airline and airport staff regardless of their job title or pay grade.


I regularly have the privilege of going into schools, sixth forms and churches to share my experiences and speak to young people about perusing a career in aviation in addition to other goals.

Often young people, particularly from less affluent families, are made to feel their aspirations to fly are unrealistic and give up early on. It is for this reason that this course is even more important to me, as it not only helps fulfil my lifelong ambition, but places me in a position to inspire and motivate other young people to look beyond their material limitations and not be defined by their current circumstances.

The Course:
The total cost of the course is £89,980, delivered in four stages across the school’s campuses at Oxford Airport in the UK, Huesca in Spain and Urtecht in the Netherlands. On completion, this course will equip me with all the necessary licences and ratings to apply directly to an airline for a first officer (pilot) position.

Due to the intensity of the course we are not allowed to work and study, leaving me with no source of income. To tackle this I embarked on an ambitious fundraising initiative and still worked many weekends. While others on my course were pulling their hair out over the sheer quantity and complexity of information we were being tested on, the greater stress for me was how I was going to remain on the course and buy food for the week.

Instalments are paid quarterly (spread over 4 payments) and there is great pressure from the school to keep up with payments or risk being suspended from classes or even dropped from the course. 
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Asher McKenzie 
London, Greater London, United Kingdom
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