A STUDENT from Southampton may be visiting space in the not so distant future.

Officer Cadet Maleha Khan who wants to become an astronaut is one of only eleven teenagers to have been awarded flying lessons for her commitment to the work of a national military charity.

She received her flying scholarship from air chief marshal Sir Stephen Hillier at the RAF Association's Annual Conference.

The 19-year-old RAF officer cadet with Southampton University Air Squadron received 12 hours of flying lessons for her commitment to work of the Royal Air Forces Association, which supports the RAF families.

Maleha and her fellow cadets were presented with their scholarships at the RAF Association’s annual conference.

Maleha said:

“I first became interested in the RAF when I was 14 when I saw the Red Arrows fly over Southampton during the D-Day anniversary celebrations.

“The Arrows themselves were amazing to watch and I also noticed the men and women in RAF uniform on parade in the city. I asked for more information and joined the local air cadets.”

Maleha, who is studying aeronautics and astronautics engineering at Southampton University, added: “I’m the first person in my family, all of whom are doctors, to take an interest in flying. They’ve been so supportive, as has everyone at Squadron 2428 in Hedge End, and especially flight lieutenant Mike Glen, who helped shaped me for a future in aviation.”

The flying lessons will take place over the summer at South Warwickshire Flying School.

Depending on their rate of progress, the course could earn the flying scholars their light aircraft pilot licence.

Director of Membership for the RAF Association, Del Rowlands said: “We’re delighted to be offering these dedicated young people the chance to learn to fly through our Flying Scholarships. This year’s applicants were particularly strong, and on behalf of the Association I’d like to wish them all the best during their courses and in their future careers.”

More than 250 young people applied for a place on the 2019 Flying Scholarships. Two of the scholarships, including Maleha’s, are sponsored by the Aviation Focus Group, which promotes the exchange of aviation information and encourages young people interested in the industry/

The RAF Association will be inviting applications for the 2020 Flying Scholarships in the coming months.

For more information call 0800 018 2361.