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Flying chemist takes to the skies


May 29, 2017

Emma, who is no stranger to passing tests with flying colours, works as a Quality Control Scientist at chemical research and development company High Force Research having graduated from Northumbria University with a degree in Biomedical Science. A recent convert to the thrill of flying, Emma has been awarded her Private Pilot’s License (PPL) after just six months training with pilot training and testing specialists, PTT Aviation in Newcastle.

In 2011 Emma joined the University Air Squadron where she had her first taste for flying. She immediately caught the flying bug but was unable to pursue flying lessons at the time. However, in July 2016 Emma re-started her flight training with pilot training and testing specialists PTT Aviation Newcastle and after just six short months has completed her Private Pilot’s License. She is now qualified to pilot aircraft privately and with non-commercial passengers.

Emma explained: “Before I re-started my flight training with PTT I hadn’t flown since university – I’d had three years without flying! But it had always been in the back of my mind as something I would like to complete. I have a hectic career working as a quality control scientist at High Force Research – and I had just bought a house to renovate – but I struggled to give up the desire to fly. I didn’t have the time or the money to do both the renovation and the flight training so I chose to focus my attention on the flying first – I now have a half-renovated house!”

Whilst completing her training at PTT Aviation Newcastle, Emma woke at 4am most days so she could fit in her flying hours before starting her working day in the lab.

She continued “I was worried I may have forgotten the basics but it all came flooding back once I was in the air – you don’t forget. My first solo experiences were a little nerve-wracking but very exciting, I flew around PTT Aviation’s three schools from Newcastle to Leeds to Durham Tees and back to Newcastle. The route involved crossing military airfields which I’d only done once before so I ensured I stayed clear – I didn’t want to be shot down!”

Craig McLeod, Managing Director of PTT said: “At PTT we want to nurture the pilots of tomorrow and offer modular cost-effective training programmes that allow students to progress at a rate which suits them. Emma’s a great flyer, and fitting her flight training in around a career as a scientist has impressed us all. Emma’s story just goes to show you don’t have to have all the time and money in the world to learn how to fly, you just need the determination.”

Stella James, Head of Business Development at High Force Research, commented: “At High Force Research we place a high priority on nurturing the next generation of scientists. We encourage our employees to pursue all of their hobbies and interests – whether science-related or not, because every skill they develop can help them in the workplace in one way or another. When it comes to Emma, all of the team at HFR are hugely impressed with her wide range of skills and talents – and her ability to fit it all in! It takes an incredible amount of energy and passion.”

By Emily