In this special AvGeek series, Flight Chic guest writer Rida Khan has candid conversations with pilots who share their passion for flight and what inspired them to pursue a life in the clouds.
To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love flying, the sky is home. Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards. There you find your wings. All you have to do is FLY.
Pilot Susanna Sundberg was born in Sweden and has been working as a commercial pilot for ten years. She started flying 16 years ago and has flown in Europe and Asia. At present, she flies to European destinations on the Avro RJ.
Q: Did you always want to be a pilot? How did your family support & motivate you as you pursued your passion for flying?Sundberg: I always had a big fascination for airplanes and aviation. I wanted to be a flight attendant, at first but changed my mind when I was very young and visited flight deck for the first time. My family has supported me 100%. They never tried to influence my career choice in any direction. I am very grateful for my parents. I could not have asked for a better support.
Q: What was your first flying experience when you joined aviation industry?Sundberg: I took a private lesson in Sweden and knew instantly that flying was my kind of thing. I joined the flight school at Lund University a few months later.
Q: Would you like to share a memorable moment of your journey towards becoming a pilot?Sundberg: What I remember most from my training was a lot of studying. I could never imagine all the different topics a pilot has to study. It’s not all about flying. You need to spend a lot of time in the books. Flying-wise my greatest memories are from the aerobatics training!
Q: How did you adjust your life schedule being a pilot while managing the responsibilities of your family?Sundberg: This is, in my opinion, one of the most difficult parts of being a pilot. You have to accept to be away from your family for days or for weeks or even months. It is very hard sometimes. You have to have a very understanding and supportive family.
Q: How do you feel during times of festivals or family celebration when you are on duty and away from family and friends?
Sundberg: I have a very good employer now and I can request the most important dates off. Most of the time, I can join the festivities. The few times I can’t are very sad, of course.
Q: What do you love most about your job?Sundberg: The flying part, the amazing views, and the chance to discover new places.
Q: What’s your favorite destination to fly?Sundberg: Any destination in Sweden. Stockholm and Göteborg are my favorites for the moment. Also, any new destinations!
Q: What are the unique challenges faced by women pilots?Sundberg: The same as male pilots. In some parts of the world, it might be difficult—or even impossible—for a woman to become a pilot, but I think that is changing for the better every day.
Q: Do you think there are more opportunities now for women to become a pilot in the aviation industry?Sundberg: Yes, I haven’t really experienced any differences between male and female pilots, to be honest.
Q: Do woman pilots get the same opportunities to advance as men do in their profession?Sundberg: If anyone is stepping ahead, I don’t think it’s because of their gender but rather their personality, skills, and motivation.
Q: Do you have any advice for our future women pilots?Sundberg: For any pilot, both male and female! My advice is to stay humble. The industry has good and bad years. Sometimes it can be difficult to find a job. Do your best and learn something new every day. If you do good during the good years, you will be covered during the bad years.
The impression I had after talking to Pilot Susanna Sundberg, is that opportunities don’t just happen. You create them. This what Pilot Sundberg did. She created opportunities to achieve her goal in life of becoming a pilot.
You can follow Pilot Susanna Sundberg on her Instagram account as @susythepilot and on her website at www.susythepilot.com/media
Guest writer Rida Khan is a foodie blogger with a hunger for a big slice of the skies. A native of Bhopal, India, Khan writes about food and aviation and is working on an airline in-flight food research project. She also posts healthy food recipes for pilots and travelers on social media.
You can follow Rida Khan on social media:
- Twitter : @mohd_ridakhan
- Instagram : @ridakhan_21
- Food Blog: Innovative Dishes On Your Way