I’ve wanted to be a pilot since I was four years old – ask all of my friends, all of my school teachers… everyone who knows me, and they will say one of the most stand-out things about me is my unrelenting yearning to fly. It’s also inextricably coded into the very fibre of my being – both of my grandparents (on my mum’s side) flew for a living; my Grandfather was a pilot and my Grandmother was an Air Stewardess with B.O.A.C.) Eighteen years later, I’m blessed to say that I have started my truly incredible journey into aviation.
Looking back on my life thus far, I’ve noticed how ridiculously lucky I am. I’ve always had everything I’ve ever needed, (health, family, friends) and more, and had the confidence and faith to identify and chase my dream, all because of my mum and my sister.
Writing something like this, about how I got to where I am, without talking about my family (my rock) would amount to nothing more than a lie. My mother and sister are the twin pillars I rely on to be able to stand, to hold my head high and have the freedom and space that I’ve needed to figure out who I am, who (or in this case, what,) I want to be and where I see my life going. I would not be here at all without my mum. She single-handedly raised my sister and myself, and has always made sure that we have felt loved, and been secure in the knowledge that it is the three of us forever – we will always have each other, and always be there for each other, (even when we’re not talking; we are only human after all!). In short, she is a hero, she is my hero, and I am everything I am because of her and my sister.
Back to how I got to Merritt Island, learning to fly… My Mum (duh!). I graduated from Warwick University in 2016, and spent some time floundering about, knowing what I wanted to do but not knowing how exactly to do it. I fell into a job as a make-up artist with Bare Minerals (which, honestly, I loved doing for the seven months that I did it, but I couldn’t ever see it as something I would do long term). I think, truly, for a little while at least, I didn’t have enough faith in myself to believe that I could actually ever pursue my dream and turn it into reality. In swoops Mum (cape billowing, boots shining, theme tune blaring). I’d done a couple of applications to a few future pilot schemes and had progressed through the first couple of stages, but never got any further with them. My confidence waivered, and I began to question whether it was time, now, to start letting the dream go. Mum and I were walking our dogs in the park, watching the planes landing at and taking off from Heathrow overhead, just as I was internally starting to consider letting flying go, and she turned to me and said; “do you still want to fly?” and my answer was, of course. “yes,” that it is all I have ever wanted to do, and that I can not imagine doing any other kind of job every day for the rest of my life without feeling suffocated or stuck. In that single moment, she gave me such clarity and snapped me out of being daft enough to have the audacity to even consider letting go of my dream. She went to India for a few weeks, I floundered some more, and she came back from India and told me she’d heard about this school 2Fly, and she set up the interview and two days later, there I was! At a hotel near Heathrow Airport, doing a super intense assessment using maths skills I hadn’t brushed up on in years, multitasking and trying to be the best version of myself. Within a few hours, I received my offer for the October intake in Florida, and accepted it the next day!
None of this would have happened without my Mum always believing in me (even, and especially, when I didn’t believe in myself) and giving me the confidence and support to actually make it happen. I honestly owe her for so much more than the English language has words to express, and I’m so grateful for our relationship – the three of us are blessed to have a hybrid relationship of mother-daughter-sister and best friends simultaneously, and I don’t know what I would ever do without them on the other end of the phone, listening to me ranting and crying and complaining, celebrating and laughing and talking about landings and take-offs, and making me laugh and keeping me sane, and giving me perspective (all the while making sure I’m fed and watered and just generally still alive, as mothers do).
So basically, my mother is amazing and I would be completely unable to do anything without her! Also, I’m in Florida learning to fly, genuinely living my dream and it still blows my mind to say it (or type it) out loud.
I’m just about to do my Private Pilot check-ride, (kind of like a driving test but there’s an oral exam before the practical part). I shall, of course, let you know how it goes; but I’m going to chronicle my entire journey since October in chronological order first! So there will probably be a bit of a wait.
Below: Me flying (just after take-off) during one of my favourite solo flights yet – the weather was calm, I was feeling really good and my landings were genuinely perfect. This is one of those pictures for me that will always transport me right back to that moment, and bring back the feelings I felt then – in this case, a little bit of pride in myself and a whole load of happiness.
Merritt Island is basically one of the most beautiful places to learn to fly over, the views of the river and the ocean and the (mostly) blue skies make it dreamy and blissful and delightful. Just could not be learning to do what I was made for in a better setting! Again, so incredibly lucky!
Thanks for reading! Until next time x