LIFT Academy and Republic Airways are proud supporters of Women in Aviation initiatives and actively work to engage women and girls in understanding that a career as a pilot is possible no matter your gender, race or beliefs. With the current and increasingly looming pilot shortage—637,000 pilots will be needed worldwide by the year 2036—the need is great and the door is open wider than ever.
In honor of the 2018 International Girls in Aviation Day, we spoke to some aspiring female aviators. You can see what they have to say about the world of aviation and women in this video.
One of the women featured is Dana Donati. Dana is a Republic Airline pilot and a member of the LIFT Leadership Team, which makes her the perfect spokesperson on the experience of being a female pilot and what it takes to get there.
LIFT: Tell us about what you do at Republic and LIFT, Dana.
Dana: I’m currently the General Manager and Director of Academic Programs at LIFT Academy. Before LIFT, I was a pilot and an Assistant Chief Pilot for Republic Airline.
LIFT: When did you decide you wanted to become a pilot?
Dana: When I was 15 years old, I had the opportunity to fly in a KC-135 to Hawaii. The crew spent time explaining the details of the flight and talking about how they got into aviation. It was an awesome experience – I wanted to be a pilot because of that flight.
LIFT: What were some of the obstacles you faced as a female in this career?
Dana: Female or male, this career can create many obstacles. Maybe it’s a checkride you wished you spent more time preparing for or the lack of money you have while attending flight school. You can’t let people or things stand in the way of achieving your dreams. Obstacles will appear throughout your career, but with hard work and perseverance, you can achieve anything.
LIFT: What do you love about what you do?
Dana: My career started with a love of flying airplanes. I love traveling and the fast-paced lifestyle of the career. When I became an Assistant Chief Pilot, my passion became helping people. I’m incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to be a part of a flight academy that helps people achieve their dreams of becoming a pilot.
LIFT: What would you say to girls or young women who would like to do what you do?
Dana: I would tell them to get started on their aviation career as soon as they can. Being a pilot is the most exciting and thrilling career one could imagine.