Meet 747 pilot Eva Claire. She tells her aviation travels and lessons learned while flying!
Sam: It's a pleasure for you to take part in this interview. Have you always dreamed of being a pilot flying 747s?
Eva Claire: No, it is something I did not dare to dream of! I only started dreaming about flying the Queen of the Skies when I had a few years’ experience flying the Boeing 737-800. That is when I noticed vacancies for First Officer Boeing 747 that I was actually able to apply for with my experience.
Sam: What is the most interesting aspect/experience of flying?
Eva Claire: The best thing is the joy it brings! It is amazing that it can be your job to take a machine into the air, and to be responsible for what you do with it. A common misconception is that it is a very adrenalin driven profession; hardly any job comes with so much routine, protocols and procedures as being an airline pilot.
Sam: Since most cargo flights are at night, how did you handle the transition from commercial to cargo?
Eva Claire: I am glad you asked this question, as it contains a common misunderstanding. I am still as much flying commercial now, flying cargo, as I was when I flew passengers.
Flying commercial does not mean ‘flying passengers.’ Commercial aviation is the part of civil aviation (both general aviation and scheduled airline services) that involves operating aircraft for hire to transport passengers or multiple loads of cargo.” With the change from flying the B737 with passengers to the B747 transporting cargo, lots of things changed; it was a transition from short/medium haul to medium/long haul. It did give me my first experience with crossing time zones, layovers, and indeed many night flights.
I was always curious about long haul operations and looked forward to having layovers. But by no means is it easy to adapt to jetlags and night flights, they don’t become easier when you experience them on a regular basis. I guess I am lucky that I can recover sleep easily when I am on my days off, and I also sleep well in the crew rest area on board when we get rest on the longer flights.
Sam: What do you tell other women who may want to venture into industries perceived to be "Male-dominated“?
Eva Claire: It is not more though to work in a ‘male dominated’ environment. I absolutely love working with men and get along really well with a lot of my male colleagues. You don’t have to be ‘one of the guys’ at all, I never felt I needed to adjust my behavior or act more masculine. I also never felt that my gender gave me extra pressure or that I am judged differently on my performance. You have to meet certain professional standards, and they are the same for men and women. I actually never gave it much thought when I applied at a flight school over 10 years ago, that the aviation industry is really male dominated.'
That said, because we are still such a minority in the industry, it does not occur to a lot of girls that a pilot career is also an option for them. Although female pilots are no longer pioneers in the industry, it is still seen as a men’s profession. I aim to inspire the next generation of women to consider a career as a pilot, by showing my life and work on social media, doing interviews, and writing about my journey on my blog.
I would love it if more women would become pilots! Not because I feel the aviation industry would be better if the percentage of female pilots (currently 4%) went up, but simply because it is the best job I can think of, and I’d like more women to enjoy it. I mentor quite a few girls through social media, so don’t hesitate to reach out to me!
Disclaimer: All Photos Provided Courtesy of Eva Claire. Potential minor edits for transcript's length, flow, grammatical/formatting.
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