NOTICES TO AIRMEN!
FIRST DRINK’S ON ME—
ARE YOU GAME???
I’ve met so many of you around the world, online or in passing. . .
IT’S TIME TO SPEND SOME REAL TIME TOGETHER!
JOIN ME for a week of Fun, Sun, and TOTAL AVIATION EPICNESS
The 2016 AIRWAYS CRUISE TO MAHO BEACH!!!
Best part: I get to spend gobs of time hanging out with YOU!
I’ll be a guest speaker
on board, along with other aviation personalities, and Bunny and I already bought our tickets!!!
As you may recall from some of my stories from capnaux.com, Airways Magazine and my books, the Caribbean used to be my old stomping grounds—where I battled hurricanes in my Twin Otter, had an airplane engine explode on me, and where I risked it all to land my first Captainship . . .
I am chomping at the bit to tell you my true, crazy tales of Pilots of the Caribbean!
What’s more, we’ll be visiting oodles of famous aviation-related spots, culminating in . .
the Avgeek’s ultimate world destination:
MAHO BEACH, ST. MAARTIN!
What are ya waiting for?
Sign up NOW
Rooms are going FAST!
For more details!
NOTAM: WHEN you do sign up, tell ’em
You were PERSONALLY invited by Eric “Cap’n Aux” Auxier!
And Now . . .
Ladies and Gents,
Welcome aboard Part 2 of our
Women in/of/about Aviation series!
Today we have a surprise guest: Captain Monica Vargas, who not only has shattered gender barriers in countries around the world, but has climbed her way into one of the Holiest of Grails in the airline industry: the Left Seat of a Boeing 777. What’s more, she now flies as a captain in the Middle East, an area that still harbors pockets of traditional male bias, and open oppression of women.
Folks, I give you: Captain Monica Vargas!
“Many eyes are watching us, the foreigner female Captains who fly without a burka and are permitted to look men in the eyes.”Captain Vargas
How many times have you had a female pilot as your Captain? Lots of times? Just a few? None at all?
It probably depends on which side of the hemisphere you live…
I started flying in Colombia 26 years ago as a teenager. I was 19, and only the fourth woman to be hired by my country’s major airline. My first years were basically a period of proving myself to peers—Captains that were my dad’s age, and not very open-minded at that time. Once I earned the reputation of being a good professional in the cockpit, however, they started to show respect towards me as a pilot.
I had to prove myself as a pilot with my peers, and with a whole culture that has historically seen women as inferiors.
Years passed by, and for various reasons I moved to Chile. Soon after, I had the fortune to be hired by their major airline. It was like starting all over again. Chile didn’t have too many female pilots—perhaps for cultural reasons, or maybe chauvinism for certain jobs considered unsuitable for women—but again I was the fourth Female Captain to be working in a traditionally all-male environment. This time, being a woman wasn’t the only issue, but also being a foreigner. The only fact that helped me cope with the situation was that I was no longer a copilot, but the pilot in command.
Last year, I took a job with a major Gulf airline. I hadn’t applied to any other airline, because I wasn’t interested in moving again, and mainly because I had a dream job at the moment. Nevertheless, here I am, flying in the Gulf, Pilot in Command of a B777 and flying around the world.
How has it been? Difficult, not only professionally, even though I have the skills required, but as a woman. Again it has been different, not only because I had to prove myself as a pilot with my peers, but with a whole culture that has historically seen women as inferiors in all terms.
Being the sole female pilot on board, every flight is a “checkride”
CRM (Crew Resource Management) has become critical to me for all flights—longer briefings, debriefings, and meetings during layovers. Why? Because, flying with 2 full flight deck crews (4 pilots total), with me being the sole female pilot on board, every flight for me is a “checkride” done by the other 3, many times questioning my decisions.
You need more than a strong character to be here. The airlines in the Gulf are hiring not just pilots, but people capable of mingling with peers from different cultures, political and religious views, leaders that are willing to preserve Safety over their personal beliefs and egos. That’s what I have shown: respect for their culture, but also a strong and firm leadership that shows them that we, women, are equals in a cockpit; that we don’t need to believe the same things to be able to respect each other’s criteria concerning our job.
This has been the most challenging yet rewarding experience in my career, transporting hundreds of passengers & following rules in a country that limits our freedom.
This has been the most challenging yet rewarding experience in my career, transporting hundreds of passengers daily, flying each time with different crew members, dealing with the language and accents, and following rules—not only from my employer, but from a country that limits our freedom in many ways.
Is it worthwhile? Definitely. In this past year, I have grown to be a much better professional and person, I have made it my goal to help open the doors widely to the upcoming women that want to enroll and work for these major airlines in the Gulf.
Many eyes are watching us, the foreigner female Captains who fly without a burka and are permitted to look men in the eyes. Fearless, full of self-confidence in their knowledge of the aircraft and of the environment that surrounds our job. Female Captains have conquered a culture, and to be able to survive, we have to strive to be “better” than anyone else.
We have to become neutral, and adapt a clay-type personality that integrates well with every crew we fly with.
The world is waiting, and the opportunities are immeasurable, so if you feel the need to expand, here’s the place to open up your wings and leave a trace in the sky.
Note: Captain Vargas has a very popular Twitter account at @vargasmoni
Thank you, Captain, for your very enlightening, informative and inspiring post! While I’m not surprised to still find such archaic gender bias out there, it is encouraging to know that pioneering women such as yourself continue to shatter those foolish views, simply by being the strong leader you are! We look forward to the day when women are viewed worldwide as fully equal to men in all aspects, both in and out of the cockpit.—Cap’n Aux
DEAR BLOG READER:
Many of my blog articles—such as Captain Vargas’s story—come from suggestions by Blog Buddies like YOU!
From a simple blog post to the aviation news stories on our “Word on the Ramp” videos, YOU are the Worldwide Correspondents of the Cap’n Aux blog, and without you, our page wouldn’t be nearly as rich.
I THANK YOU!
And . . .
SPECIAL THANKS TO BLOG BUDDY ALADZHI
of Abuja, Nigeria, for your help with today’s story!
— — — —
Women of Aviation Series Posts
- Helicopter Mercy Pilot Dianna Stanger! http://capnaux.com/women-in-aviation-helicopter-mercy-pilot-dianna-stanger/
- The Amazing Dr. Anna Serbinenko! http://capnaux.com/women-in-aviation-aerobatics-fbos/
- Karlene Pettit—Author-Aviator-CNN Rock Star! http://capnaux.com/women-in-aviation-karlene-petitt-author-aviator-blogger-cnn-rock-star/
- Jessica Cox—One Handy Pilot! http://capnaux.com/women-in-aviation-jessica-cox-one-handy-pilot/
- Jennifer S’s Tales From the Terminal! http://capnaux.com/women-in-aviation-tales-from-the-terminal/
Related Cap’n Aux Posts
- Women of Aviation: Tales From the Terminal http://capnaux.com/women-in-aviation-tales-from-the-terminal/
- Word on the Ramp Video: Celebrating Women in Aviation! http://capnaux.com/wotr-video-happy-national-aviation-day/
- Word on the Ramp Video Collection https://vimeo.com/album/3162370
- Black Swan Event Video 2: CRM http://capnaux.com/black-swan-event-part-2/
- There I Wuz: More Adventures! http://capnaux.com/there-i-wuz-adventures-from-3-decades-in-the-sky-vol-2/
- Airways Op Ed: Top 5 Modern Improvements in Aviation Safety http://capnaux.com/top-5-modern-improvements-in-aviation-safety/
- CRM: Are You the BEST Pilot You Can Be? http://capnaux.com/are-you-the-best-pilot-you-can-be/
- Word on the Ramp Video: Pure Osh-Someness! http://capnaux.com/word-on-the-ramp-video-special-edition-pure-osh-someness/
— — — —
LINED UP & WAITING
Departing all month
More Aviation Adventures of the Feminine Kind, with . . .
—Jessica Cox (Rightfooted.com)
—Miss TWA (MissTWA.blogspot.com)
—Karlene Petitt (Karlenepetitt.com)
—”Sky Chick” Ramona Cox (Skychick.com)
And more surprises!
— — — —
Our 2016 Airways Cruise to Maho Beach!
For more details, and remember: