Worth pushing forward with training as a young woman?

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Tatiana Jennys, Sep 16, 2021.

  1. Tatiana Jennys

    Tatiana Jennys Filing Flight Plan

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    Hi I am Tatiana and am new to the forum. I just finished my private pilot and am thinking about going on to a career in the airlines. But I would like to hear from other woman pilots -- is it comfortable enough these days to continue trying to get to be captain some day? How much hassle is there really ... ?
     
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  2. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    :popcorn:
    The only easy day was yesterday.

    Yes, you will probably have some problems. You will also probably find that you have some advantages. If you don't try, you will never succeed.

    edit: Oh yeah, welcome to POA.
     
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  3. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Go for it. Read up on Emily Howell Warner. Join WAI.
     
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  4. RyanB

    RyanB Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    If it’s your passion and what you desire, than go for it! You can do it! :)
     
  5. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Pattern Altitude

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  6. JScarry

    JScarry Pre-takeoff checklist

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    See if there is a 99s in your area. Lots of women pilots of all ages and experience.
     
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  7. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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  8. TommyG

    TommyG Pattern Altitude

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    Absolutely no reason you can’t keep going. The flight school has a few female CFIs currently. We have had many in the past get their hours and move onto the airlines.
     
  9. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Yes

    look into United Airlines Aviate program. If accepted they help pay for flight training and have an employment path that results in a job at United.
     
  10. Notatestpilot

    Notatestpilot Filing Flight Plan

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    Another possible path is to get a pilot slot from your local air guard or air force reserve unit.
    Its been a good kept secret that most dont realize.
    I believe the military are still some what short of pilots.
    Best of luck.
     
  11. rhkennerly

    rhkennerly Pre-Flight

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    Check out Nancy Bradshaw’s YouTube channel.
     
  12. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Yuck, helicopters! I’d rather stay unemployed than fly helicopters.
     
  13. rhkennerly

    rhkennerly Pre-Flight

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    Undoubtedly you will. She is also certified in Embrier & 747s.
     
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  14. kath

    kath Administrator Management Council Member

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    Hi, @Tatiana Jennys,

    Congrats on getting your Private!

    I'm not an airline pilot, but I have been in a male-dominated field (physics) for pretty much my adult life. As with any pursuit that requires training, and time, and dedication, aviation is not without its hassles and challenges, and some of them are things that your male peers will not share... But the short answer is YES this dream is well within reach.

    Women make up about 7% of certificated pilots, only 4% of commercial pilots. What that means is that you'll be noticed, watched, scrutinized more than your peers; not because of ill intent, just because you are different and people are curious. It can take some practice to get used to. It also means that in a typical get-together dinner-table made up of pilots -- say the table seats 8 or 10 -- you'll be the only woman at the table most of the time. Whether this makes you uncomfortable is a matter of personality, but I have found that this also gets easier with time and practice and confidence.

    For the most part, I love aviation culture. As you've likely already found from getting your Private, it's it own kind of cool "nerd" culture, where folks are willing to spend hours arguing the finest of technical minutiae for the sheer joy of the argument, something I enjoy too. It's also very much a help-each-other fraternity (and I mean that in the gender-neutral sense), where folks will go out of their way for a total stranger because of the bond of the passion we share. I've traveled around the country a lot by plane, and have stayed in a lot of guest rooms of complete strangers. Have a breakdown at an unfamiliar airport, and this community will rally to find you a mechanic on a weekend. But aviation culture also has its bad apples and hostile outliers, as does any male-dominated field where the people in it have grown too accustomed to saying whatever they like and going unchallenged -- sometimes too much a "fraternity", in the not-so-good sense, crass and insensitive. There are many techniques for dealing with it; we women are all different, and our experiences are all different, and we all have to find our own ways of navigating the world and gaining control of our chosen environment. If you stick with it, you'll earn the respect of whose whose respect you want, and ignore the ones you don't.

    Seek out other women pilots! There's the 99's, Women In Aviation, Facebook groups... You're not betraying some kind of "equality dream" by doing so; there's something wonderful about the kind of tribal camaraderie that comes with being naturally accepted in a room full of people who understand you, and you deserve that experience from time to time as much as the next pilot.

    That being said, also find your aviation role models wherever you can, in whatever gender, color, size, or shape they may come. For instance, you specifically asked to hear from women airline pilots on this thread, and in typical PoA fashion, a bunch of men jumped in to cheer you on -- and then me, even though I'm not in the airlines. This is pretty typical (the "help-each-other-fraternity", despite what you actually asked for), so take this as a strike in favor rather than a strike against. It's only a matter of time before someone says something well-meaning-but-insensitive on this thread, but don't hold it against them too much; they're learning. :). Meanwhile, allies are all around; find them, and fly!

    If ya like, tell us a little about yourself!

    All the best,

    --Kath
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2021
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  15. Checkout_my_Six

    Checkout_my_Six Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Short of hard work….you’d have a preference over me. Why would you even ask this question?
     
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  16. SkyChaser

    SkyChaser Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'm just a (newish) private pilot, so not exactly who you asked for, but welcome from a fellow woman pilot! It's fun to find other women who enjoy aviation - there aren't too many girls that find spitting in gravity's face all that interesting!

    I was originally thinking about aiming for the airlines before I started my training, but I ended up changing my dreams a little. There are definitely comfortable places for women, even as captains in airliners. If you work hard and treat your fellow pilots respectfully, you'll most likely even end up with a hiring advantage, because of the relatively few women who want to become airline pilots. Since I'm not an airline pilot myself, I can't speak from that point of view, but I can tell you that I've flown as a pax on multiple airliners recently, and have had a few women captains, and they seem to get along well with their copilots. I'm sure you'll run into a few "bad apples", but if you can maintain your confidence and your cool in spite of that, you should get on quite well with the majority of pilots you'll fly with. Guy pilots aren't all that different from guys else where in the world, except they may be nicer than a wide swath of the public, so if you aren't super sensitive to everything and can hold your own in the general population, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised in that regard. :)

    If you'd like to chat about why I decided I didn't want to go down the airlines path, just shoot me a PM and I'd be happy to talk to you about it!
     
  17. JOhnH

    JOhnH Touchdown! Greaser!

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    As usual, you offer a very well thought out and logical perspective.
    I just want to point out that if "A bunch of men" hadn't jumped in, it would have been a very short thread.
     
  18. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    As a geneticist, I've yet to see why the lack of a Y chromosome would stop anyone from pursuing a career in aviation. The Y chromosome houses the testes determining factor (TDF) and a handful of male fertility genes. There are no genes on it that affect things like cognition or muscle coordination. I think the larger barrier to a carrier in aviation is economic.
     
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  19. Domenick

    Domenick Line Up and Wait

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    One bit of caution, do not go into pursuit of an piloting career with a chip on your shoulder. Go into it expecting to be treated fairly and courteously regardless of your gender.
     
  20. WDD

    WDD Pattern Altitude

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    My 2 cents - If my nephew asked me if he would be comfortable training to be a nurse, I would say sure, it might be different in a female dominated field. You might be the only male at a get together dinner. If you're uncomfortable being with different people, then I suggest getting used to different people isn't a bad thing - it could be enriching actually.

    Why let a very small number of bad apples get in your way? You might find a few bad apples - but most are probably OK. You'll run into as*ho#$ people regardless of gender, etc. I don't allow them to get in my way - I get around them.

    If comfort is a person's main objective in a career, I guess see if Lazy Boy Recliner company is hiring.

    BTW - half of my CFI, CFII's have been female, and it didn't matter to me, their other students, fellow CFI's, etc. Your question was much more relevant in 1971, not much in 2021.
     
  21. rhkennerly

    rhkennerly Pre-Flight

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    I think you, and a lot of up-and-coming airline pilots, worry about the wrong things. Gender nor Race will be an issue in the pilot shortage projected for coming decades.

    Instead, you need to think long and hard about the brutal and ruinously expensive apprentice and journeyman trail ahead of you. It's a system designed to prostitute your love of flying.

    If you stop at CFII, and are content to be in the cockpit as an instructor with irregular hours and even more irregular pay, the career path is not so bad. If, however, your ambition is to drive the "bigs," then you're on a long, long road. Pvt, 200+ hours, Commerical, Instrument, CFI, CFII, and Multi-engine will all be on your dime. Then you're going to need to build around 1200 hours before you're attractive to the regionals.

    Eventually, you might get hired into the regionals, the journeyman's adventure begins. The regionals know you're aiming high, so they don't work very hard to keep you happy. I've seen kleenex better used. At one time, sleeping regional pilots so littered airport lobbies that it looked and smelled like a bus station. Eventually, regional pilots were prohibited from sleeping in the terminal and, instead, rented seats in cars parked in long-term parking to catch a nap. As some advanced in line numbers, they could afford a pallet on the floor of an apartment along with 6 other pilots.

    Sure, space available, you can deadhead for free between home base and your flight, or from flight to flight in different cities, but that's also on your time. It's not on the clock. There is no honor in sticking around long enough to earn left seat or, if you do graduate to left seat, staying in it for too long in the regionals. Senior Captain at the regionals is just a marker that you can't make it to the "bigs." These are the captains that delight in torturing their first officers.

    You also have to worry about yourself. Every six months, year after year, your ATP ticket and the tens of thousands you spent on training are on the line with your 1st class medical.

    In the meantime, if you make it to "the bigs," you'll be competing to move up among military-trained pilots with 5-20,000 hours in "bigs" (C130s, P-8s) or Heavies (KC135s, B52s, C-17s).

    Certainly, a person with your resources and who is also smart enough to be a pilot can find a rewarding career outside of aerial bus driver that allows you to have an airplane and do some flying.

    my Ph.D. cost far less than what I estimate it takes to get to the regionals. It also took a year or 2 less time.

    Go military pilot or do something else.
     
  22. Rushie

    Rushie En-Route

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    I’m also not in the airlines but have worked in a very male dominated field (mechanical engineering) since the 1980s. I was usually the only female at the table both in work meetings and lunches or dinners while traveling. What you say above is true, and the biggest factor is your own personality and approach. If you presume men are treating you in a sexist way, then it will become a self fulfilling prophecy. Most men are welcoming and well intentioned, but if you signal that you think they are chauvinists, they’ll pick up on that and mistrust you, rightly so.

    I speak from first hand experience. I quickly learned how that works at my first engineering job, when I made a comment insinuating there might be gender discrimination there. There was NO evidence of it, I was spouting nonsense that had been put into my head by whichever wave of feminism existed in 1983. I was in my 20s and like many young people believed something I had been told (repeatedly) before I actually got out into the real world and found out what it was really like.

    What it was really like was just as Kath says, increased curiosity but with no ill intent. My pay was the same, I was given the same kind and amount of projects and held to the same performance expectations as all the guys. I was not expected to “be even better” nor was I cut more slack. I was never excluded from water cooler conversations. The truth is, once you are accepted as “one of the guys” you’re one of the guys. As humans men and women are much more alike than different. But it’s up to you to let them see that, as opposed to emphasizing your minority status.

    In my case that one comment didn’t do lasting damage because I picked up on their wary reaction immediately, and figured out real quick that going in with guns blazing about equality isn’t the right approach with innocent people who are actually attempting to include you.

    This^^^^.

    Also this! ^^^. Although I would eliminate “male-dominated” and say “any field” period. Females can also be bad apples and hostile outliers. As for the boys’ fraternity, what I found is you have to be careful not to assume the group is exclusive because of gender and not just the nerdy subject they share or the fact that they share a long history together. It’s difficult for anyone to join an established group as a newcomer. If you feel you’re having trouble breaking into some male group, do you know for a fact that another new male wouldn’t have the same trouble? Again, don’t assume evil intent up front or it could become a self fulfilling prophecy. Except, they’ll just be disliking you, not your whole gender.

    Now, there are bad apples. While I never experienced discrimination, I did have a couple of guys make passes at me. I wouldn’t call it sexual harassment, maybe because I never let it get that far. Just subtle cues like standing closer to me than necessary. Once again how you handle yourself makes all the difference. I never had any trouble deflecting that stuff with prejudice with just a glare or something. I’m not talking about true predators, that’s a different thing. But even that isn’t exclusively a female problem. Men also are targets of unwanted sexual advances in the workplace, from both women and other men. Male victims just don’t seem to get the same media attention.

    I almost didn’t reply because I’m not an airline pilot but I also knew there aren’t any (many?) on this board to reply. I can say that nobody stopped me from flying airplanes in 1981 or any time since. Men have been nothing but encouraging and helpful. I’ve never felt the slightest bit of exclusion due to my gender but then I never tried to work as a pilot so I really can’t speak to that particular work environment. But in general I believe men care a whole lot more that you’re good at your job than what gender you are.

    To want to be a captain with the airlines might be problematic just with the marketplace. But right now being a female might give you an advantage. I’d say just be good at what you do and be yourself. I would pursue it if it is what you really want but base your decision on the market, not on any perceived gender imbalance.

    Good luck and have fun!
     
  23. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    It’s a downer, but female or male, I think you should be aware of the medical aspect of things and how easily that can snatch away your career if something goes awry. When you’re young and healthy you think it can never happen. But have a plan in case it does.
     
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  24. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    In the late 70's there was exactly one female in my fairly large graduating class of mechanical engineers at the University of Michigan.
    Today (well actually yesterday, because the class is Tuesday/Thursday), four of the fifteen students in the mechanical engineering class I am teaching are female. Three out of nine in one robotics engineering class, and one of ten in another robotics class are female. I'll let you calculate the averages.

    In the workplace, **** that used to happen 30 years ago will get you bounced out the door in an instant today.

    Smoking at your desk or in a meeting? Used to be common.

    Wearing a stupid necktie while working under the hood of a car with the engine running? Yea. BTDT.

    Things have changed.

    But I still have my slide rule.
     
  25. Silvaire

    Silvaire En-Route

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    I'm not a woman but...when you are young the future is a hazy plan with a lot of questions and unknowns, when you are old the past is a string of shoulda, coulda, woulda's mixed with some wow, was I lucky I did that's.
     
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  26. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    This.
     
  27. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    In addition to the military, the majors are beginning to have relationships with schools to get pilots. Example Metro State of Denver:

    “relationships with aeronautical companies – such as Jeppesen-Boeing, United Airlines, Envoy, Mesa Airlines, Express Jet, Air Wisconsin, and Republic Airlines – translates into incredible internship opportunities”

    More details:
    https://www.denverpost.com/2018/02/06/metro-state-united-airlines-aviation-program/

    If you’re under 19, the USAF is partnering with JrROTC and Civil Air Patrol cadets as a stream of pilot candidates.
     
  28. Robert Gee

    Robert Gee Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Lol, we've come a long way, baby! (we as informed humans)
    Look into NASA Astronaut history and training of females. Looking at those results we're lucky they still let men compete.
    Then again all women are crazy, it's just a matter of to what degree
     
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  29. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I think I'll just go hide somewhere until the shooting stops. ;)
     
  30. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Well, a lot of the female engineering students do tend to make the guys look like slackers...
     
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  31. texasclouds

    texasclouds Pattern Altitude

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    There are opportunities available, but worth it will be a personal matter. I think a deep down enjoyment for flying is required.
     
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  32. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Really?
     
  33. Rushie

    Rushie En-Route

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    If memory serves my graduating class of MEs was 3% women. Civils were a bit higher and nuclear and electrical lower.
     
  34. Kelvin

    Kelvin En-Route

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    Comfortable...strange choice of words.

    I have a lifelong friend whose daughter just got her commercial at 20 years old. She is very a competent pilot. She now right seat in a C501 about three days as week building turbine time. The company she works for is THRILLED to have a female pilot who is incredibly competent and willing to put in the work to grow.

    No reason at all this can't be you as well.

    I wish you success!!!
     
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  35. RyanB

    RyanB Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    I wouldn’t want to fly helicopters either, especially EMS. Good thing you’re not involved in that craziness!
     
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  36. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I’d recommend watching all of Nancy Bradshaw’s vids. She puts a lot of effort and tons of information in her vids. I can’t find her vid on why she left her cargo 747 job but that will give you an example of it ain’t always rainbows and unicorns. Not sure if she was with Atlas but I’ve got a friend who flys 747s as an FO and the dude is hardly ever home. You’re gonna have to put up with some crap schedules early on in your career. For Nancy, looks like she wasn’t willing to do that and made the wise choice of going back to helos. :D
     
  37. Everskyward

    Everskyward Experimenter PoA Supporter

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    For me, the "hassle" had much more to do with factors other than my gender. While I mostly enjoyed my job while I was doing it, it was still a job. Don't think it's going to be like an outing for your $100 hamburger; or maybe now it's a $1,000 hamburger. But I would say that to all young (and not so young) people who are considering doing it for a living. My main beef with the profession was how highly regulated and procedure-oriented it is. I completely understand that it's that way for the sake of safety, but that's not what I was expecting when I learned to fly "for fun" many years ago.
     
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  38. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Go ugly early!

     
  39. texasclouds

    texasclouds Pattern Altitude

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    I met a retired commercial pilot the other day. He said, I always flew for free…it was the waiting around they paid me for. I feel the same way, flying is always fun, but sitting in an FBO for 5 hrs waiting to go isn’t much fun.
     
  40. jordane93

    jordane93 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Yea, I rarely hear good things if any at all from Atlas. It’s a shame because they do a lot of really awesome flying and I hear the crews are great. Just management sucks so bad.
     
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