Women in Aviation - Grace McKellar

by Grace McKellar on Mar 05 2019
My name is Grace McKellar, I’m 22 years old and I began my flight training at L3 in November 2018, having graduated from the University of Warwick with a Bachelor’s degree in History of Art.

As part of the Air Cadets at school, I had the opportunity to occasionally go gliding and also to fly in a Grob Tutor. The moment I realised I wanted a career as a pilot was the very first time I took control of an aircraft and performed aerobatics above South Oxfordshire. I think it is safe to say that there are very few careers where you can experience this same thrill on a near-daily basis.

With a degree in History of Art, I knew that the transition from humanities to a STEM based subject would be a challenge, however I have always been prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve my dream and to overcome any obstacles or set-backs I have on the way to the flight deck.

One of the toughest aspects, aside from the academic demands of ground school, has been adjusting to an all-male class. As the only female in a class of 20, I represent the global percentage of female pilots! However, since starting ground school over three months ago, I have made strong friendships with not only my male classmates, but also several of the other women at L3 Airline Academy. This has made Ground School seem much less intense, knowing that I have a strong network of colleagues I can go to if I have any issues or even just to meet up for a coffee over the weekend. Aside from my peers, the instructors at L3 have been invaluable, making time to answer any queries or for extra tuition; since day one, the support from the staff has been incredible.

It is of the utmost importance that there are more females in stereotypically male-centric professions, especially in aviation. I think it is so important for young women to have tangible role models within the career they aspire to have. To this day, I have never seen a woman at the controls of a flight I’ve been on, and at times this can be quite demoralising.

One of the reasons I wanted to go into aviation was to hopefully inspire and be a role model for young pilots, not just as a woman but also as someone who has come from a non-technical, non-STEM background. I would encourage aspiring female pilots to take advantage of all of the current and up-coming initiatives helping to increase the intake of women in aviation and, if possible, reach out to other women in the industry through social media with any questions or just as someone to look up to.  It is amazing to know that I am one of many women helping correct the gender imbalance in the aviation world, and that one day gender diversity among pilots will be a thing of the past.