Pilot Michelle:

Oh hi there, my name is Michelle, but some people call me Herbie. I was born and raised in a small country called Belgium. Growing up, both my parents worked in the aviation industry. My mother worked on the ground, whilst my father worked up in the sky. Thanks to my parents I was able to travel a lot, and my interest in aviation started to grow. Eventually I decided to study for a Bachelor in Juvenile Criminology. After some interesting and educational years, I finally graduated! But something in me knew I wasn’t ready to get a job. During my years at university for my Bachelor, I read through some PPL books. I also booked myself a ‘1 day pilot course’, to see how it feels behind the controls and actually flying a plane. The theory and the flying itself were awesome. I was 100% sure this was the path I wanted to take for my career. After a lot of research, talking to aviation friends and pilots, reading books, studying aviation related theory, go flying with pilot friends,… my motivation was HIGH. I decided to take the first step at CAE Aviation Academy in Brussels. I prepared myself for the entry exams by studying daily. As my dad always says “Fail to prepare, is prepare to fail”. After hard work and preparation I passed the entry exam in one go. This for me was my 'green light' to sign up and start my pilot training at CAE. After 6 months of intense studying, no social life, I finally passed the 14 subjects. Hard work, determination and serious motivation got me through this phase.

After a few laps in the pattern on the PA28-181, I got to do my first solo… A moment I won’t ever forget!

So where am I now? I am currently in Phoenix, Arizona for the actual flying phase of my training. At this moment I am building hours doing nav solos, while still flying duals with my amazing female instructor Adriana in between. Soon I will switch to the twin-engine airplane… The PA44! That will be the plane I will fly for my CPL. Once I get my CPL, my time in Arizona comes to an end. I absolutely love it here, so it will be a tough good-bye, or perhaps a see-you-again! Now I’d like to think there is more to me than just flying. I love spending time with my family and friends, they mean the world to me. Water activities such as wakeboarding, kayaking, paddling, renting a boat and just chilling with friends, excites me a lot! But I do enjoy lazy days as well: me, my television series and a bag of chips! Perfect! That being said, I’d like to mention that my goal is to be a role model to others. I honestly believe that helping, encouraging and supporting others is a way to make other people achieve their dreams. It never really crossed my mind that I could become a pilot… Thanks to the power of social media I saw many female pilots achieving their goals. This also helped me realize that yes I can! This is why I now use my Instagram ‘michelleherbie’ to motivate others, especially females. I post pictures of my life as a student pilot, but hopefully in the future this can change to ‘my life as an airline pilot’… Hope to see you in the skies! Herbie


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