By Rebecca Drew
THIS FEMALE pilot who has visited THIRTY-FIVE countries has propelled herself to Instagram fame after sharing pictures of her adventures in the cockpit with her 36.8K followers but says she has had to try harder to prove herself to her colleagues because of her gender.
First officer, Emilie Christine (31) from Toronto, Canada, has been a pilot for eight-years after achieving her private pilot’s licence in 2011 followed by her commercial pilot’s licence in 2012 and loves everything about her career, from the travel opportunities it affords and the different people in the industry that she gets to meet.
However, Emilie who loves travelling and adventure didn’t always know she wanted to be a pilot but after working as a registered massage therapist for a couple of years in her early twenties decided to pursue a career in flying.
Although Emilie doesn’t feel like she’s been discriminated against due to her gender, she says that because women in aviation are still so few and far between she feels like she has had to work harder to prove herself to other people when she was training with mainly men and when competing for jobs.
Emilie shares her travels and adventures in the skies on Instagram under the handle, @pilotemilie, and so far, she has visited 35 countries and hopes to up this to 50 over the next four years.
Stunning pictures show Emilie in the cockpit, standing in the aisles and on her latest travels to Croatia.
“My favourite things about being a pilot is the diversity of the job, the interactions with so many various people and other professions from the flight attendants, customer service agents, ground crew, maintenance and training department, and the travel opportunities that come with my occupation,” said Emilie.
“I absolutely love exploring and traveling and being able to reach the entire world makes me feel so free.
“The feeling of flying is almost priceless. It seems like your problems or worries are smaller. Things are simpler. I appreciate the greater and bigger things in life. It’s a sense of freedom for me.
“I like to share images from the flight deck, the views we experience, my travel adventures both at home in the Rockies, or wherever my travel takes me. I also post selfies and pictures of myself as those seem like they are most requested and liked. I like to try and be real with my followers and not so ‘picture perfect’, especially in my IG stories.
“It feels very empowering to know that I’ve made it this far in this industry, but it is thanks to all the women ahead who have paved the path for all of us. I studied and did the work required, just like everyone else, but hopefully as more women get into aviation, it will get less daunting, less intimidating and possibly less challenging for more to get into flying.
“I hope to help more women achieve those dreams and hopefully I can look back and see I’ve made even the smallest difference.
“I can’t say I’ve explicitly ran into problems myself due to my gender, but I know that I have been treated differently due to it. As an example, I know the feeling all too well of being the only woman in the room.
“Whether it be in ground school working towards my initial pilot licences or being one of two ladies in my initial ground school with my current employer. That in itself doesn’t seem like much, but as a woman who is still working on her confidence and self-esteem, it can be very challenging to stick out that way.
“Another could be having gossip being spread about yourself, your talent and professionalism questioned due to your gender, your worth and reason for being hired for example, being attractive versus actually having the talent to be hired. The extra awareness that my gender has caused has made me try even harder to ‘prove’ myself to others.”
Emilie flies a Dash 8-Q400 plane and has anywhere between 12 and 16 flights each week.
So far, Emilie has visited 30 countries, including; Iceland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Peru, Costa Rica, Cuba, Republic of the Congo, Australia and the Bahamas. Her favourite trip so far was to Croatia last year and she is planning to explore Tanzania and hike Kilimanjaro later this year.
“A message I like to convey is, have fun with it. A lot of people take things so seriously these days and I just want people to take deep breaths and enjoy the process. This isn’t to say that there isn’t a time and place for professionalism, hard work, dedication and a more serious tone, but we have to remember we are here for such a short while, we may as well enjoy it,” said Emilie.
“I love laughing and being goofy and I will always remind my followers of that. I try to be ‘inspirational’ by being real. So, enjoy the journey. So many of us race to the finish line or race to get to the airlines and forget to actually live or explore before and during their flight training years.
“I recognise that yes, becoming a pilot is an expensive undertaking, but I prioritise traveling for myself as a learning tool and opportunity to grow, so as to better serve my current and future co-workers, our guests, my partner and family, as well as nowadays, my community and followers.
“As for women, or anyone, trying to get into this industry just don’t give up. Failure will happen, but failure is only true failure if you don’t get back up. I’ve ‘failed’ numerous times (flight tests, written exams), but continuously try and get back to it, as that is true success in my eyes.
“It may seem overwhelming, like you can’t see the end or like it’s too challenging, but if you keep going, every single day, you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come when you look back.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/pilotemilie