Ryan Southam and Adam Butcher have been announced as the winners of the annual Warbirds Over Wanaka Flying Scholarship. Each wins a $5,000 scholarship from the Warbirds Over Wanaka Community Trust from funds raised at the 2016 Airshow.
The pair were selected from more than 30 applicants. Warbirds Over Wanaka General Manager Ed Taylor says for the second year running the standard of those who applied was outstanding.
“Like the first year it was actually very hard to sort out the winners, there were so many who missed out who we are sure would have been very worthy recipients. We urge all those who missed out to apply again next time,” says Ed.
Ryan plans to use his scholarship to gain advanced formation flying qualifications. He is already heavily involved with the warbird scene and ultimately wants to be a top display pilot but also to pass on his knowledge to others coming up through the ranks.
“Normally any training such as this would be spread over quite a wide time frame due to financial constraints, but with the scholarship I will be able to move forward at a more rapid rate. This is a real benefit of these scholarships,” says Ryan.
Meanwhile, Adam is hoping to use his scholarship to get time in a Harvard to gain the initial experience required to eventually progress on to fly World War Two-era fighters.
“The P-40 has always been a special ultimate goal, closely followed by every other type. There’s just something about warbirds: the noise, visibly different airframes, different handling characteristics, the personalities who fly them and the stories of the pilots who flew them in the various world conflicts.”
“I see this moment as a reflection of all the amazing support I’ve had from many people over my aviation career to date. I have really enjoyed the journey so far and feel incredibly lucky to have an opportunity to progress to the next level of warbird flying,” says Adam.