On April 16, 2016 I posted this picture of me from the flight deck. On July 21st 2016, @instagram reposted it together with my story.
It has never been about me to trying to prove myself being a pilot, it’s about opening doors and showing others that opportunities are for everyone. I know I am very fortunate to be where I am today, but it didn’t come easy, I had to work for it, study, lose contact with friends and until today, after flying commercially for three years, I still pay back the bank every month what I owe them for my pilot training.
I have never felt differently treated in aviation because of my gender, but at the same time I never knew that the option was there for me, I saw the stereotype, a male 50 something with a well trimmed mustache fitting the role of a pilot.
With more than 1.2 million likes and over 20k new followers, I woke up that morning and without exaggeration I can say that it honestly changed everything! All the positive feedback I received, but most importantly the Aviation Community we have through Instagram has opened up doors and access globally, in a way which I never imagined possible.
Everyone that I have met through Instagram has inspired, motivated and taught me something new about life! I hope I can keep growing my ever-evolving list of #instagramconnect friendships.
Below I wanted to share my ten favorite photos from the past year, not because they are killer-selfies but for the thoughts and feelings that each one of them provokes.
August 3rd`Thank you all so much for all positive feedback`. It took me a few days to comprehend everything. I could never have imagined that an image on Instagram could have created such an impact! I went from 100k to 200k followers in just a few days, tv and news agencies contacted me to hear my story. I am astonished by the positive feedback I received. Some might still say: “Why is this still something special, there are many female pilots out there?” and I agree, I am not anything different from any of the others, it has never been about the fact that I’m a woman in aviation, not for me, for me it is all about following your dreams, fighting and pushing yourself, and seizing opportunities. Overcoming obstacles, if it’s in aviation or whatever it might be.
September 8th`Laugh so hard your stomach cramps, your tears are messing up your mascara and you pee yourself a little … ..`Flying with my favorite captain and friend Mark @hell.flyer is like spending a day with my best friend. He was based at the same base as I was for a year before he got a transfer home to London.
September 12th A yoga set goal for me, the Mayurasana, Peacock Pose, it took me over a year to learn this pose, but ‘whoever gives up will never know’, and for me it was an achievement, proving that practice does reward in results.
September 21st My first @gopro family event! After every GoPro event I’ve been on, I go home with such inspiration, motivation and so much joy. It’s impossible to explain the community and love that goes on behind making these cameras, how enthusiastic and committed everyone at GoPro is! When I was asked to be a part of the GoPro family I thought I was dreaming, I’ve been using their cameras for many years and to get the chance to beta test and share my Gopro content with you is an honor! Here flying with York @iflyheli in his R66 helicopter, I am so grateful for our friendship, you are an amazing person York! In the back Nicolo @humansafari and JC @jcpieri See YouTube video from this event here: (GoPro Hero5 release ) edited by JC.
January 27th Seated in flight deck with my best friends @mariathepilot! Many think that Maria and I have known each other for forever, but the truth is that we connected via Instagram! Now a day never goes by without us talking to each other, if it’s just a hello or an emoji on messenger or something much bigger, like a crazy adventure in Riga together with our third ‘squad member’, Malin @flymalin we always connect. I don’t know what I would have done without these girls coming into my life! In September, Maria and I will be bridesmaids at Malin’s wedding, I can’t wait to see her marry the love of her life!
March 6th The first time my mum visited me in Sicily. After moving to Italy, I really don’t see my family nearly enough and I miss them every day. But that’s part of the ‘pilot-run’ and I’ve always been a bit of a ‘wunderlust’. I left Sweden over 13 years ago when I first moved abroad to Cyprus, where I spent two years. After that I have backpacked more countries than I can remember, I have lived in Spain, Italy, Norway, the UK and the list keeps growing. I have no idea where I will be in a year, anything can happen and I would never take anything for granted.
March 7th Bali and Gili T with new friends. I would never have met @pete_ohara, @bobbyksa and @tonyadgar if it wasn’t for Instagram. Together with @thesephyr and @thecrazyplatelady we spent 10 days in Bali and Gili Trawangan. New friends for life! (Watch youtube video here Bali together with @thecrazyplatelady) directed by Bobby, edited and filmed by Pete, film Tony). It was my second time to Bali and Gili T, my first time to Indonesia was in 2010, just before I started the pilot training and I packed Thailand and Indonesia on my own. Many people are afraid of doing things alone, I find it peaceful. Thank you @wsutisna for showing us around beautiful Bali.
May 8th My first experience in a fighter jet and a new addiction was born! The adrenaline and boost this gave me cannot be explained through words! I’m forever grateful for to @migflug for giving us the opportunity to fly the L39, Albatros and to share this experience together with Malin and Maria. (See full youtube video here Figther Jets with Malin and Maria) Directed by Bobby, filmed and edited by Pete, film Tony, you guys totally ROCK!!
July 9th Together with my two favorites in Dijon, France. We teamed up together with @breitling and went on an adventure beyond what I could ever have imagined! From flying fighter jet along with @breitlingjetteam (starstruck)! To skydiving with parachutes, to attending luxurious dinners and wine tasting. Behind the camera is Emma @emeleonora who documented this whole trip and I can not wait to share our vlog with you (link to youtube will come soon)
- I shall save this spot… I have the feeling that my absolute favorite image is still yet to come.
Happy Friday and for endless of adventures to come!
Thank you Kirsty @kirstyrwilliams you’re the best!
Written by Maria Pettersson
Edited by Kirsty Williams