“My desire to obtain a pilot’s license came very early on in my life, simply from spending a lot of time on airplanes. At the time however, employment opportunities for pilots were highly coveted, so I didn’t see flying as an attainable career. But after 12 years of working in forestry and becoming a mom, I felt called to take a leap of faith. I think we all have moments in our lives where we feel motivated to make a change and we can either embrace it or play it safe. To this day I am grateful I embraced it, because as soon as I began pursuing my pilot’s license, I was addicted. I knew this is where I was meant to be. Very quickly I understood what people meant when they said they loved their job and I knew from then on, I would do whatever it took to make this my career.
My determination didn’t change the fact that employment opportunities for new pilots 20 years ago were sparse. When you’re a new pilot, your first job can take you away from home for months on end and this can be a real barrier to women especially who ultimately have a different set of responsibilities than our male counterparts. As a wife and mother of a six-year old at the time, it took a certain obsession with flying and many sacrifices by me and those I loved, to stay the course and find my first job.
Today, there are more paths available for those who want to pursue a career as a commercial pilot. With increased diversity and representation in our industry, the life of a pilot will always be a demanding one. My advice to new pilots is to ask yourself from the beginning, ‘do I love this enough to make it work?’ You will have to make sacrifices along the way, and so will those you love, but if you’re dedicated you will find a way to succeed.
My goal is to lead by example and be a visible force, so that more women, mothers, and daughters feel they belong in aviation too. I think that is why opportunities like Women of Aviation Week are so important – by showcasing and recognizing successful women in the aviation industry we pave it forward for a more diverse future generation who will see themselves represented and feel they belong in this industry.”
- Megan Goddard, First Officer, B737