By Rebecca Drew
MEET the stunning blonde pilot with an Instagram following of 19.3K who flies around active volcanos for a living – after learning to fly when she was just 16.
Breath-taking pictures and video footage show pilot Aimee Burn (20) flying over the three active volcanos of New Zealand’s beautiful Central Plateau; Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Ruapehu, as she offers scenic tours over the region for tourists to the area.
For Aimee, who flies a Cessna 172, her fascination with planes started when she was just 12-years-old, after she heard the sound of their engines and knew that she wanted to be in control of one, one-day. Aimee wants to show her Instagram followers that becoming a pilot is an achievable career for young people of both genders and dispels the myth that you must be a genius to follow that path.
“I think I inherited a bit of my dad’s ‘petrolhead’ genes, because I’ve just always been really fascinated and excited by engines, cars and of course, aircraft,” said Aimee.
“I remember watching a Bombardier Q-300 aircraft at the airport when I was young and when I heard their turbine engines it was like music in my ears and I knew I just wanted to be in control of so much power.
“I literally get paid to fly around these three, beautiful active volcanos, the view never gets old so I guess for me this doesn’t feel like working for me, I’m just doing what I love.
“The weather around mountains can be very temperamental and can change very quick so every day of flying will never be the same as the last which keeps my job very interesting and exciting.
“I think my favourite perk of the job is just being able to make someone’s day, simply by doing what I love, flying. The smiles and the positive vibes from my passengers after a flight is just so contagious and I love being able to share my passion with them.
“The emotional feeling of flying is just pure happiness, seeing the world from above is just something else, sometimes I find myself smiling more than my passengers when I look out the window, I just feel so lucky to be able to do this.
“Of course, it’s exciting as well because humans are species that are made to walk on the ground, not fly in the air! So being up there and defying the laws of gravity with our aircraft is just so much fun.
“My main goal with my Instagram is to inspire young people of both genders to become interested in aviation and realise that a pilot career is definitely achievable.
“There are still a lot of old beliefs that you must be a genius in maths and physics to become a pilot which is entirely not true.”
Mount Tongariro and its surroundings were used as a filming location for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy,
In August and November 2012, Mount Tongariro erupted at its Te Mari craters which had been dormant since 1897.
Aimee did her first trial flight when she was just 15 and learnt to fly properly a year later in the summer of 2014. At 18, she achieved her commercial pilot licence and became a flight instructor at 19.
In January this year, she landed her first job doing scenic tours and Aimee says that she has never run into problems due to her gender and shared her words of advice to others.
“I’ve actually never had any problems in aviation due to my gender,” she said.
“I’ve always been given equal opportunities and treated the exact same as the men in training and my job which is great and what I’d expect.
“Whatever you do in life, especially your career, make sure it makes you happy.
“Figure out what you really love doing first before you throw away heaps of money on a degree that you’re not even really interested in.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/aimeburn/