I am a West Coast Canadian girl, raised in Victoria, British Columbia. I developed a love for aviation through my experience in Air Cadets growing up! However, there was a time when I had no interest in airplanes. Aviation was not the gendered norm. I never saw an image of a Female Pilot, nor was I ever given a toy airplane growing up. When I was 12 years old, I wanted to be like the other girls and take dance lessons, but my Mother, who was a single parent with 4 children, could not afford it. At the time I wanted to fit in and be like the other girls, but I would end up taking a different path than my peers and I am so grateful I did!
Instead of taking dance lessons, I got really involved in Air Cadets. My 2 brothers and sister had joined ahead of me and I followed them because they told me how fun the camping trips were! Luckily the cadet program was a price my Mother could afford: Free! I joined cadets when I was 14 years old and was soon hooked! By age 17, I
received a scholarship for my Glider’s License and at 18, I received the scholarship for my Private Pilot’s License. My love for aviation was born.
I loved the freedom of being in the sky and the view. I decided it was important to chose a career doing something you love, plus I always wanted to travel and see more of the globe. In addition, I always wondered what it would be like to fly across the Pacific Ocean.
After completing my PPL, high school and starting university, I took a break from university to get a full time job to pay for more flying lessons! I paid for my training with scholarships, bursaries, student loans and hard work! Once I had my CPL, I became a flight instructor, and soon after became the Chief Flight Instructor for a small flying school. The funnest job I had was when I also flew part-time at a drop zone, dropping skydivers! From instructing
and dropping skydivers, I progressed to flying light twin engine aircraft including a Seneca, Navajo and then a turboprop: the Beechcraft 1900! I flew the B1900 around Western Canada for 5 years, and became a Training Captain prior to landing my first jet job! I moved overseas to Hong Kong and have been flying a Boeing 777 for the past 8 years. I am currently a Senior First Officer on the B777 and one day hope to become a Captain! It was once a dream to fly for an airline. Now I know what it is like to fly a jet across the Pacific Ocean! The sky is not the limit.
For Flight school, keep studying and work hard! It took me time to understand aircraft engines and systems and eventually I would end up teaching it as a ground school instructor!
On my journey, although I experienced challenges and setbacks, I believe it is possible to overcome anything. Despite growing up in a family with little money, thus financial challenge, I found a way to pursue my dreams. I also experienced other setbacks such as the when there were few flying jobs in North America for a new Commercial Pilot starting out after 9-11 2001, and he economic slow down during the 2008 Financial crisis, which slowed my career progression in aviation. More recently I experienced a health issue, followed by a big injury, and couldn’t fly for many months. With patience, I recovered last year and am grateful to be back in the skies!
Advice: Overcome any setbacks and challenges that come your way. Be patient, persevere and remain determined to accomplish your goals. Anything is possible if you want it badly enough and work for it! If I could go back in time, I would tell my younger self to relax and enjoy the journey!
Good luck with all your goals, dreams and your own journey!