Check Flight Instructor Maram Shahidi: Overcoming Barriers

If you would have told 11-year-old Maram Shahidi that one day she was going to grow up and be a pilot, she would have laughed. It was something she would never have imagined herself doing. However, it was “love at first flight”, and she broke many barriers along the way to get where she is now. The role of Check Flight Instructor is Maram’s passion, helping students grow their skills and expand their knowledge.


Question: First of all, congratulations on your new role as Check Flight Instructor! Tell us about what made you interested in aviation! 
Maram: Growing up, I was always fascinated by aviation. The first time I rode in a plane, I was 11 years old, and I was going from Egypt all the way to New Zealand. Two stops and 36 hours later, I was absolutely hooked! 

Question: When did you decide to begin your flight training at LIFT Academy and when did you become an instructor? 
Maram: I started my flight training at LIFT Academy in January of 2020. The country went into a lock down three months after I started, and I was also pregnant at the time. So, between a worldwide pandemic and growing a human being inside of me, I had some delays, but eventually I became an instructor in June of 2022.

Question: You will still be teaching students as a Check Flight Instructor, but how do you anticipate making an impact on them? What made you want to take on this role? 
Maram: Being an instructor isn’t just a way to get to the airlines. I’m very passionate about teaching. I enjoy seeing my students grow their skills and expand their knowledge. 
As a Check Instructor, I strive to provide a safe environment for my students. A checking event is naturally a stressful event for the student, and having gone through that myself, I can relate to how the student must be feeling, so I try to put them at ease. On a checking event, my goal is to uphold the Airmen Certification Standards and make sure the student is making safe choices throughout all phases of flight. My goal with every checking event is to elevate the student’s skill set.

Question: When you first made the move to begin flight training, what made you #FlyWithLIFT and what has been your favorite part? 
Maram: I was driving one day, wondering what my next goal in life should be, and came across a huge billboard on 10th Street that was advertising LIFT Academy. It was a moment of epiphany! I knew right then and there that was it! I went on a Discovery Flight, and it was love at first flight. My favorite part about LIFT Academy, other than the fact that I’m flying the diamond of the sky for a living, has been friendships and the community we’ve built over the years. I walk into work every day feeling overjoyed with happiness that I get to work alongside my best friends!

Question: Speaking of community – what is it like being a female in aviation? As we are in Women’s History Month, what does that mean to you? 
Maram: Women’s History Month is so important to me! Growing up in the Middle East, it was challenging to be a woman. Women must work twice as hard to prove themselves. If you would’ve told 11-year-old me that one day, I was going to grow up and be a pilot, I would’ve laughed. Being a pilot wasn’t even something I could’ve dreamt of becoming. And that’s why we need to celebrate those women that have broken the mental and societal barriers and ignite the hearts of the ones that are still battling those barriers.

Question: Was there a female in your life, aviation or otherwise, who inspired you? 
Maram: My biggest female inspirations have been the women in my family. I was born in a family of hard-working women. My mom has been my rock from day one, she’s my biggest cheerleader, teacher, and mentor. As a kid, I always looked up to her and her perseverance and thirst for knowledge. Growing up, she always used an Egyptian quote that translates, “A teacher dies and is never done learning.” I’d be honored to follow in her footsteps.