This autumn applications will open for four Thomas Castle Heritage Scholarships for 2022.

The programme was set up by Ian Castle in memory of his son Thomas, who died in August 2019 in an aerobatics training accident.

Tom was almost regarded as a fixture at at Sywell aerodrome in Northamptonshire, thanks to his passion for vintage aviation and aircraft restoration. Working with his father, he had helped restore de Havilland Tiger Moth G-ANTE to pristine condition, gaining his PPL and soloing in the beloved Tiger. He had also joined Richard Grace and the Ultimate Warbirds team at Sywell in working on Spitfires, Messerschmitts and P-51 Mustangs.  

In early 2020, Ian Castle elected to place the Tiger Moth in trust, with the aim of using it in Thomas’s memory to provide post-PPL flying training scholarships to allow other young pilots a greater insight into vintage aviation and “inspire new pilots for old aeroplanes”.

The initiative has been supported by the Light Aircraft Association, Ultimate Warbirds, Vintec (Vintage Engine Technology), Sharman Avionics, de Havilland Support Limited, Vintage Fabrics and Aircraft Coverings Limited. In addition a number of warbird and display pilots have offered their services as instructors. 

In its first year, four Thomas Castle Aviation Heritage Scholarship winners each completed five hours of training on the Tiger Moth, despite Covid restrictions. The Trust plans to expand its activities further in 2022, offering engineering workshops to encourage potential candidates to learn more about maintaining and looking after heritage aircraft.

Image(s) provided by:

Andy Durston