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.
Eser Aksan Erdogan is a Dutch/Turkish, 31-year-old. She has been flying for Pegasus Airlines for 3 years.
Q: Did you always want to be a pilot? How did your family support and motivate you as you pursued your passion for flying?
Erdogan: Yes, it was my childhood dream to become a pilot. I loved watching the big planes at Schiphol and wondering about the destinations they went. I studied International business and management. After working one year, I was miserable with my career choice, and I still wanted to become a pilot. My family was very supportive with everything; mentally and financially, so I could pursue my dreams. I have never regretted my final career choice. Every day I am still happy to sit in the cockpit.
Q: What was your first flying experience when you joined aviation industry?
Erdogan: My first flight was with a Cessna 172 and it was even better than expected. It was the ultimate freedom. Having wings is a feeling I can’t even describe!
Q: Would you like to share a memorable moment of your journey towards becoming a pilot?
Erdogan: Being the only girl in class and the first one in class to fly the first solo!
Q: How did you adjust your life schedule being a pilot while managing the responsibilities of your family?
Erdogan: Since we’re both pilots, we really understand each other. And we have a maid who comes one or two times a week, which is really helpful with such a hectic lifestyle. We try to make the best of it.
Q: How do you feel during times of festivals or family celebration when you are on duty and away from family and friends?
Erdogan: We have lost a lot of friends because of this. It’s very difficult to synchronize our schedules even as husband and wife. We have limited days off, and we don’t see each other often, so it is very difficult to plan for friends and family.
Q: What do you love most about your job?
Erdogan: My office view has the best of the world
Q: What’s your favorite destination to fly?
Erdogan: Amsterdam Schiphol, always! It’s going home for me.
Q: What are the unique challenges faced by women pilots?
Erdogan: The prejudgment that men have. It’s still a male-dominated industry and some old fashioned minds still believe that female pilots don’t belong in the cockpit. We have to increase our numbers to change that! I fly with other women once a year.
Q: Do you think there are more opportunities now for women to become a pilot in the aviation industry?
Erdogan: No, it is still pretty much male dominated. With society’s expectations of women to have families, it is even more difficult. Let me rephrase that, starting a family having kids is really difficult and demanding with a working schedule like this: no weekends, flying during nighttime, holidays, everything. Frankly, there is no time to see your kids let alone raise them.
Q: Can women advance in aviation?
Erdogan: Yes, I think so. Women are very quick thinkers and awesome at multitasking which is very helpful on the job. I would love to see more women fly.
Q: Do you have any advice for our future women pilots?
Erdogan: Don’t be intimidated! Being different is a power, not a weakness.
After talking to Pilot Erdogan, it’s clear that things work out for her because she makes the most of her opportunities.
You can follow Pilot Eser Aksan Erdogan on her Instagram account: @echosierra85
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