There is more to life than being a passenger
On July 24th, we are celebrating Amelia Earhart Day which this year would have been the 126th birthday of one of the most famous pilots and iconic aviators in the world. She was the first woman and second person overall to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1935. Amelia Earhart was known for encouraging women to pursue their dreams even in male-dominated fields such as aviation. She has inspired many women to follow in her footsteps and start their careers in aviation.
Bridgette Haggard, Voluxis Pilot Academy Cadet, explains what Amelia Earhart means to her:
“Amelia Earhart is a strong role model to me as she championed the advancement of women in aviation with her courage to do what no woman had ever done before. She paved the way for females to realise that a pilot did not necessarily have to be a career path exclusively for men. Her famous quote “There’s more to life than being a passenger” could be applied to so many different scenarios in life, and has probably inspired many people to be the master of their destiny in any chosen field. She was defined by her drive and determination, which are qualities I truly identify with and hope to personally represent in my own career.”
Bridgette grew up in South Africa, where being adventurous is encouraged and supported from a very young age. Growing up with two older brothers allowed her to be a free-spirited person without hesitation, never having to hold back joining in on thrill-seeking activities, which gave her a slightly more adrenaline-driven mindset. She always had the desire to travel the world alongside her ambition to have a career that requires constant learning and opportunities for growth. The aviation industry never appeared to be part of her reality, but her curiosity took her to an airfield one day, where she booked an introductory flight in a little yellow plane.
Bridgette explains “I realised quickly that I had found something that resonated with me from the moment the instructor started up the engine. Sitting in the front seat and seeing with my own eyes what it takes to fly an aeroplane, alongside the instructor’s absolute assurance after seeing the look in my eyes that I could also learn how to fly an aeroplane, changed something inside of me forever”
She enrolled in the PPL course at Morningstar Flight Academy in Cape Town South Africa and had the opportunity of seeing her city from the air, with the main highlight being an aerial view of Cape Point where the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean meet.
Bridgette has been selected for the new aircrew apprentice scheme, the Voluxis Pilot Academy. The program runs for three years and allows the candidate to fund their pilot training while being a fully contributing member to the Voluxis operations team.
“Although aviation is largely a male-dominated industry, I feel comfortable being trusted in my role regardless of my gender. I can only hope the other men I encounter on my journey in aviation are as encouraging, experienced and respectable as the men at Voluxis” states Bridgette.
In a true Amelia Earhart spirit, her most important advice for other women in aviation: “Always be conscious of your wholehearted belief in yourself and what you are capable of accomplishing. The sky truly is the limit for women now more than ever.”