The point I was trying to get across is that AEF doesn’t give that inspiration to maybe take your flying to the next level, because the people doing it are not from the civilian world and only see the military angle, as such there is no real progression or training to inspire you to take it further. That and dishing out FS is and always has been a points accrued scheme based on how many badges, what rank you are and exams passed. How many bog standard non ranked, non badge encrusted cadets have got a FS? How many of them are “Wing Darlings”?
By doing the flying at a local school, if you feel you have the aptitude you have broken the ice at the local school and if you were interested you could ask or go back and ask about taking it further and not be restricted to the military view of the flying world. We have had two cadets get an FS, but we have had 7 others over the years get their PPL which they had started before or just after starting in the ATC and went to the AEF after. Two of them basically took control after take off and took the instructor for a flight until it was time to land, but they both said they could have done that as well.
What is it “promote a practical interest in aviation”, what more practical interest could you promote than making something thought inaccessible, accessible, ie some kid off the estate cajoling parents and family to buy them lessons and getting their PPL, rather than never getting a look in for a FS as they probably won’t stay in long enough to get enough points and yet there they opening up a potential career. Which is what happened 3 of the 7 I mentioned. They do flying as a job and one of them is now a flying instructor themselves at a flying school near to where he lives.