Bristow’s latest sponsored cadets join the ranks

Aberdeen, Scotland, October 29, 2021 -- Bristow Group Inc. (NYSE: VTOL) announced today that it has welcomed the latest cohort of trainees to its fully sponsored UK cadet programme, in partnership with Helicentre Aviation, underpinning its commitment to bringing new pilots into the industry.

The programme is the only UK scheme of its kind enabling cadets to graduate and transition from training straight into employment with Bristow, where they will gain type ratings and begin as First Officers with the world’s largest helicopter operator. The company received more than 1,200 applications for this year’s programme.

Aspiring pilots Kelly Wood, Ashley Simpson, Felix Lilleyman and Matthew McClune, have started their initial training at Helicentre Aviation’s training facility in Leicester, England, where they will be based for 15 months.

Ashley Simpson is currently aircrew and flight scheduler at Bristow Group while Kelly Wood entered the company through its apprenticeship scheme 10 years ago, most recently holding the role of B1 licence engineer at Bristow’s Aberdeen base.

The cadets will gain the 13 examination passes and 135 hours flying required to pass the Commercial Pilots licence skills test, before transferring to Bristow’s dedicated training base in Aberdeen for an additional three months.

Upon final testing, the trainees will join the company’s experienced crew, flying regular passenger flights to a variety of offshore assets under the guidance of the company’s skilled Line Training Captains.

In addition to the new cadets, Bristow has also welcomed sponsored cadet Claire Stoll to its Aberdeen crew following her success in gaining Multi-Engine Instrument Rating. Claire was previously an instructor at Helicentre, supporting the training of new cadets and with a strong knowledge of helicopter operations and Bristow’s high-quality standards, the business sponsored her Instrument Rating training enabling her to join the business as a Co-Pilot.

Flying utilising Instrument Rating Rules (IFR) is an essential element to operating aircraft offshore with the pilot using only the on-board instruments, with no reliance on visibility.

Felix Lilleyman added: “To have the support from Bristow means everything to me, it's a golden ticket. It would have been significantly more challenging and taken a very long time for me to pursue a civil aviation career without it. I can’t remember a day I didn’t want to be a helicopter pilot, so I’m really excited about starting my training.”

Matt Rhodes, director UK Oil & Gas, said: “Bristow has a long legacy of supporting the next generation of pilots and we continue to see the value in this programme. Despite the challenges the last 18 months have presented, we understand the need to support new talent in the industry to ensure they are trained to the highest standards.

“Many of our current pilots and senior management team came through our sponsored cadet programme, so we really understand the benefits of investing in young pilots. I look forward to seeing the latest recruits progress through their training in the coming months before welcoming them to the team in Aberdeen.”

Bristow’s latest cohort of trainees to its fully sponsored UK cadet programme, in partnership with Helicentre Aviation, are (left to right): Feliz Lilleyman, Kelly Wood, Ashley Simpson and Matthew McClune. (Click to download high resolution image).


About Bristow Group

Bristow Group Inc. is the leading global provider of vertical flight solutions. Bristow primarily provides aviation services to a broad base of major integrated, national and independent offshore energy companies. Bristow provides commercial search and rescue (SAR) services in several countries and public sector SAR services in the United Kingdom (U.K.) on behalf of the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA). Additionally, the Company also offers ad hoc helicopter and fixed wing transportation services. Bristow currently has customers in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Guyana, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Spain, Suriname, Trinidad, the U.K. and the U.S. To learn more, visit our website at

Local UK Contact
Gillian George
+44 (0) 7815 561 545

Bristow Group Inc.
Adam Morgan
Director, Global Communications
+1 281.253.9005