£1.5M Contract Takes Off at Tayside Aviation

The next generation of pilots are to be trained in Dundee, thanks to a £1.5M contract awarded to Tayside Aviation.

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The Ministry of Defence has awarded the five-year Air Cadet Pilot Scholarship (ACPS) contract to the Dundee-based flying school and aircraft engineering company.

The Royal Airforce contract will allow 750 cadets to train at the city base over the five year period, ploughing £250,000 into the local economy each year, when combined with other students based at Tayside Aviation. Many of the cadets ultimately go on to become pilots or Officers in the RAF or Royal Navy.

The cadets will undertake 12 hours of flying over a period of two weeks to achieve their first solo flight, training in the Grob Heron aircraft which Tayside Aviation have recently rebranded in bright colours to improve their visibility to other aircraft.  The company has also installed new collision avoidance equipment within the aircraft, attention to detail which has played a part in securing the prestigious contract.


The company, which has trained 900 pilots for all major airlines since launching in 1968, has been the sole UK contractor for RAF Flying Scholarships since 1994. In that time, the company has been responsible for training over 5000 cadets, many of whom eventually graduated as pilots in the Royal Air Force.

The ACPS is often the first rung in the flying career ladder as many recipients of these prestigious awards go on to be pilots, other aircrew in the armed forces or pursue a career as commercial airline pilots.

Jim Watt, Managing Director, Tayside Aviation said, “We are delighted to be able to continue to serve the RAF in delivering the flying scholarships. We have held this contract continuously now over 20 years and it requires high standards of flying and safety as well as delivering a cost effective programme for the RAF. Our instructors have to be high achievers as they all have to be cleared to fly with the RAF Central Flying School.  It is a tough and demanding contract to deliver but our vast experience has enabled us to stay at the cutting edge of service delivery. Here in Dundee, we have favourable weather and fly this programme all year round. It is great for Scotland and for Dundee. I am very proud of my staff and flying instructors who do an outstanding job. We train over 200 pilots a year at Dundee to the very highest standards recognised by the Royal Air Force.”

Tayside Aviation has now been operating for over 45 years and is the only Flight School in the UK approved to fly the RAF Flying Scholarships with cadets coming from all over the UK to train in Dundee. They also train scholarships for The Air League, The Honorary Company of Air Pilots as well as GAPAN Hong Kong. Tayside Aviation also has a pilot placement programme with Loganair and, last year, trained the Army Air Corps pilots for the MoD on fixed wing aircraft, who went on to fly Army Apache helicopters.

In addition to this valued contract, Tayside Aviation provides training for Private and Commercial Pilots Licences, aircraft rental to qualified pilots and instrument rating training. The company is also the largest light aircraft engineering provider in Scotland.

In recent years there have been significant investments, in hangarage, aircraft and a new full flight simulator which is used for corporate hospitality as well as instrument rating training.


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