From Student to Assistant Chief Flight Instructor

Sarah Hayward grew up in an aviation family – her father was a pilot, but she still wasn’t sure about aviation. Now, she can’t get enough of it! Sarah started as a student, became a LIFT Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) and is now the Assistant Chief Flight Instructor at LIFT Academy, because of her love of aviation. In her role, Sarah has the opportunity to impact all of LIFT’s students as they go through the training process, and hopes to be someone other pilots (both male and female pilots!) can look up to! Learn more about Sarah’s journey to #FlyWithLIFT!


Q: You grew up around aviation – your father was a pilot, but you went to college for something else, what was it that finally inspired you to pursue aviation? 

Sarah Hayward: I wasn’t fired up about the work or school I was doing. I knew I wanted to pursue something that I could wake up and be passionate about every day, but I wasn’t sure what that was. My dad eventually talked me into taking a Discovery Flight; I think he knew that one flight would be enough to hook me… and he was right.


Q: After you completed flight training at LIFT Academy, you were interviewed and offered the role of Assistant Chief Flight Instructor. How are you able to impact students in this role? Why did you want to take this role? 

Sarah: Honestly, I didn’t realize how much I would love instructing. I’m passionate about the training environment and being a part of the team that is instrumental to so many students’ successes. I took this role so I could continue to pour [knowledge] into students through their instructors. I also hope that students can feel like they have an advocate in me; I’ve been in their shoes and want them to have the BEST training experience possible!


Q: Aviation has historically been a male-dominated industry – what does it feel like to be a woman in a leadership role, knowing you will be able to impact many female pilot’s flight training experience? 

Sarah: I love to see women making an impact it in a male-dominated industry. Since I started at LIFT Academy, I’ve seen the number of women here grow — hopefully young girls are seeing that too. I hope that more and more of their role models become female pilots so that gender doesn’t seem like a barrier to them. I’m proud to be one they can (hopefully) look up to.


Q: What advice do you have to young girls or other women who are thinking about pursuing a career in aviation? 

Sarah: Just like anything else- go for it! And if you’re short like me, they make [airplane] booster seats.


Interested in joining Sarah at LIFT Academy? Sign up to receive more info about LIFT here!