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I have more pressure, but want no favors: female pilot

Captain Nguyen Phuong Anh, who stormed a male bastion to become a pilot, tells a story that sends spirits soaring.
On Vietnamese Women’s Day, October 20, Captain Nguyen Phuong Anh spoke about how she ended up flying high, literally.

– How did you end up becoming a pilot?

– I’d been a flight attendant for seven years. Day after day, I dreamed of flying in the sky, going around the world. Watching male colleagues in “powerful” pilot uniforms, I had an urge to wear them and sit in the cockpit and have passengers look up at me with their admiration. Then my opportunity came. With no hesitation, I went to America to fulfill my dream.

After years of hard work, Nguyen Phuong Anh made it happen.
After years of hard work, Nguyen Phuong Anh made it happen.

– What were your feelings on your first flight?

– For most of us, the first one is definitely the most memorable one. In the basic course of training, there is a compulsory lesson to take-off and land 3 times. It’s a difficult lesson, which requires concentration, determination and mastery.

I was so nervous when my course-mate passed the test. Bad weather also added up to my worries. For nights before my turn, I almost cried but didn’t. When I sat in the cockpit on my own and completed the course by myself, I was over the moon. As the plane rolled into the parking lot, I hugged my teacher and cried like a baby.

There is a tradition that the teacher pours water on the student on completion of his/her course, but I was so happy that I jumped into the swimming pool right after I got out of the plane.

Sitting in a commercial plane carrying hundreds of passengers is not only a responsibility, but also the pride of each pilot.

– What is the process of training to become a pilot, especially for women?

– For both men and women, it is a highly responsible and challenging job. Personally, I think it is harder for women to handle the pressure. I’ve been through sleepless nights, sweat and tears to achieve my knowledge and skills. I had to train and strive constantly to enhance my skills and to prove myself to male colleagues.

The happy pilot bride in one of her unique wedding photos taken at the airport.
The happy pilot bride in one of her unique wedding photos taken at the airport.

– How hard did you have to train to become a captain?

– After graduation, I joined Vietjet Air as First Officer in 2014. Fortunately, there are many opportunities to learn and get promoted, especially for pilots. I never stopped improving my skills and adding to my experience. After four years of hard work and the guidance from Vietjet trainers, I succeeded in becoming a captain

Because I am a woman, I still have some typical pressures that male pilots don’t have. So, I keep my head down and try to work even harder. From manners to actions, I’m very careful when I coordinate with my partners, so that everything works well in the airplane.

"We have a 2-year-old boy and he is interested in flying already", she said.
“We have a 2-year-old boy and he is interested in flying already”, she said.

– What has the life of a female pilot brought to you?

– The aviation industry is characterized by landing time, not normal time, like other jobs. However, it means happiness to me. I got married 3 years ago and my husband is also a captain with Vietjet. We have a 2-year-old boy and he is interested in flying already.

As a woman and a wife, I must know how to manage my schedule in detail in order to finish my job and take care of my family. I can cook quite well. In my free time, I try to organize parties for family members. When my husband and I are both on duty, we ask grandparents to take care of our boy.

Captain Nguyen Phuong Anh and her husband.
Captain Nguyen Phuong Anh and her husband.

For women, the Lunar New Year is very important. But we who work in the aviation industry will still work non-stop, helping other people reunite with their families.

As a female captain, I do not want any better favors than my male colleagues. Thanks to the best working environment and family support, I always feel secure in completing the responsibilities of a female captain.