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Female Pilots

Old 11-23-2008, 05:32 PM
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Default Female Pilots

Since I am a 20 years old female, I feel that I must ask this question since I am interested in becoming a commercial airline pilot. It is common knowledge that the aviation industry is dominated by males.

My questions is, have that change over the years? Are there more female pilots? Is it more difficult for a female to "climb" the ranks in the commercial aviation scene?
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Old 11-23-2008, 09:25 PM
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Being a female in aviation a lot easier than it used to be. Aviation is still male-dominated, but the current crop of 20-40 y/o's have been dealing with women as equals for most of their lives so aren't as big of jerks about it as older generations. The occasional clueless male is still around but less tolerated than even ten years ago.

The pilots are the most tolerant.
The mechanics are slowly becoming tolerant, and males and females cuss equally well.
Ground crews are, well, ground crews.
The passengers, keep super glue in your toothpaste to keep smiling as yet another passenger compliments you, the female captain, for being a flight attendant learning how to fly, or for your dad bringing you to work, and so on.

Don't wear your heart on your sleeve and find a female mentor in whatever path you choose to pursue.
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Old 11-24-2008, 02:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Nova2686 View Post
Since I am a 20 years old female, I feel that I must ask this question since I am interested in becoming a commercial airline pilot. It is common knowledge that the aviation industry is dominated by males.

My questions is, have that change over the years? Are there more female pilots? Is it more difficult for a female to "climb" the ranks in the commercial aviation scene?
Hey Nova 2686,
My wife has had a pretty disapointing career path. Not so much because of her gender, but just because of the crappy places she has ended up at. And because of some of those backward places, most of the pilots she flew with were pretty threatened by the fact that a female pilot could do their job just as well or even better than they can.
Her current employer is up to date with the times and the way she is treated is pretty transparent.
The moral to the story is don't just take any job. Be selective and you shouldn't see the stuff you that you see at some of the 3rd rate charter outfits.
Most of all welcome to the world of professional aviation. I know it looks bleak out there right now but so does being a stockbroker at Citibank. It will get better.
Cheers.
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Old 11-24-2008, 10:01 AM
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Women in general can fly as well as men, and you will not have any gender problems (other than possibly getting hit on by co-workers) at the airlines, especially the larger ones.

You might run into a few old-school types in the charter/corporate world...the smaller operations don't necessarily provide the sexual harrassment training and enforcement found at larger operations. Also be aware that in these jobs you might get hired just because the pilot you will be flying with wants to hang out with you on layovers...make sure you know who you will be flying with and are comfortable with them on a personal and professional level.

It is worth noting that there is some lingering resentment due to the fact that airlines (and the military) hired under-qualified females in the past and attempted to train them to proficiency. Said extra training often doesn't work, and there were a number of high-profile crashes. Nowadays most airline employment is based on merit alone, although you might get called for an interview sooner if you are a female. The aviation culture evolved out of male/military roots... just keep your sense of humor and you should be in good shape. All of my female friends in aviation are progressing just fine, they seem to complain about the same stuff as other pilots.
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Old 11-24-2008, 10:43 AM
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In today's environment, being a female pilot is pretty much no different than being a male. As others have stated, don't wear your emotions on your sleeve. You will encounter a few jerks, but easily to deal with. Passengers will ask you where to stowe their luggage and if you can get them a drink. I usually find this a good time to have fun. When asked for coffee, I once stated "You know its really funny, they taught how to fly the airplane, but forgot to teach me how to use the coffee machine". Usually the passenger is embarrassed and walks away. I do make sure they get their coffee though.

One thing to keep in mind, don't expect special treatment. You will be asked to perform just like your male counterparts. Some people think females are given special treatment. We are not. This was true in the late 80's, but not anymore, from what I have seen.

Overall its a good job, just be ready for a roller coaster ride. The economy rides waves and so does the airline industry. This is just another period of down, we will get through it, how it looks on the other side remains to be seen.
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Old 11-24-2008, 11:28 AM
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OK I'll be the sour grape in the room. I've flown with a lot of really outstanding female pilots both in and out of the military. However they all have one thing in common. Somewhere in their mid to late 20's they want children. The ones who have children have an incredibly tough time with it. One of three things happens, they end up as a single parent who is away from their children a lot. Or they end up with a husband who is unwilling to do the full load of work when mom is gone, or they get lucky and find the perfect man. For a wife who is never home finding #3 is pretty tough, most men still prefer to be the hunter bringing home the meat.
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Old 11-24-2008, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by MD10PLT View Post
However they all have one thing in common. Somewhere in their mid to late 20's they want children.
not all of us
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Old 11-24-2008, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by MD10PLT View Post
OK I'll be the sour grape in the room. I've flown with a lot of really outstanding female pilots both in and out of the military. However they all have one thing in common. Somewhere in their mid to late 20's they want children. The ones who have children have an incredibly tough time with it. One of three things happens, they end up as a single parent who is away from their children a lot. Or they end up with a husband who is unwilling to do the full load of work when mom is gone, or they get lucky and find the perfect man. For a wife who is never home finding #3 is pretty tough, most men still prefer to be the hunter bringing home the meat.
OK, that's something to consider...

Most airline gals who I know don't have any, and don't want any.
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Old 11-24-2008, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by alwaysflying View Post
One thing to keep in mind, don't expect special treatment. You will be asked to perform just like your male counterparts.
Was there EVER a time to expect special treatment and not have to perform like the just like the male counterparts?

Originally Posted by alwaysflying View Post
This was true in the late 80's
That didn't stop in the late 80's.
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Old 11-24-2008, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by dojetdriver View Post
Was there EVER a time to expect special treatment and not have to perform like the just like the male counterparts?



That didn't stop in the late 80's.

It's gotten a lot better...I have not seen any preferential treatment in airline training lately.


This is one of those things where it's best to hate the game, not the player.
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