Matthew O’Brien, a level three engineering student at Truro and Penwith College, has been chosen out of 350 applicants to complete the Qualified Aerospace Instructor Course (QAIC).

Matthew, who hopes to become a pilot in the Royal Air Force, was eager to apply to the course, which is recognised by the RAF and acts as an incredible learning experience.

Applying as soon as he was old enough, Matthew was delighted to get through - especially as he was the only cadet chosen from Plymouth and Cornwall. While the application process was filled with paperwork, exams and tests, Matthew was glad of the experience as it will help him when applying for the RAF.

QAIC runs for seven months, with Matthew having to travel up to Boscombe Down in Wiltshire for one weekend a month. He said: “It will be hard balancing my workload from both college and QAIC but by working on the train and with help from both sides I know I can do it.”

Hopefully, Matthew’s knowledge of engineering will help him throughout QAIC. “The physics from the course can be related to QAIC as it includes very academic modules such as principles of flight and aerodynamics,” he said. “And hopefully I can take what I learn at college to QAIC and bring back knowledge from QAIC to here.”

Other modules in QAIC include a 15 minute solo presentation and a 40 minute syndicate presentation, which will be delivered to the chief of the RAF. Matthew will also have the chance to experience air traffic control and flight simulators.

After completing QAIC Matthew will be able to teach the course himself, a great way to spend a gap year gaining even more experience before joining the Royal Air Force.

Over the summer, Matthew could be seen soaring in the skies above Cornwall with the help of a solo gliding scholarship at RNAS Culdrose. “The scholarship is great,” said Matthew. “Getting on a good thermal can mean I get up to a few thousand feet high. I’m definitely lucky to be in this end of the country as there are only two places to do this.”

In October, Matthew will be attending a ceremony where he will be chosen as a Lord Lieutenant for Cornwall’s cadet, a role which will see him escorting royalty when they visit the county.