The aviation industry, as male-dominated as it can be, has been pulling a few surprises lately. If you’re used to hearing male pilots on standard airplane announcements, you may be surprised the next time you take a Ryanair flight. Who knows – Maria Petersson may be the one flying you to your destination. No one can blame you for being a little bit starstruck. After all, at last count, she has almost 350,000 followers on Instagram!
This high-flying Swede, who’s in her early thirties, is originally from the city of Gothenburg. Petersson now calls the much warmer Sicily home, and only started using Instagram as a way to keep her family and friends updated on her life in Italy. It wasn’t long, though, before people started taking notice of her amazing photos. She posts photos of herself in the cockpit of her Boeing; sometimes, she posts photos shot in amazing vacation spots.
Petersson has written about her journey to becoming a commercial pilot on her personal blog, Pilot Maria. She writes about the struggles of obtaining a license, beginning from the difficulties of studying, to completing other courses required for commercial pilots. She also talks about her experiences of getting the required hours commanding a plane.
Like all stories, Petersson’s individual journey to becoming a pilot had many hurdles. First off was the price involved – this is why she advises would-be pilots to make sure this is what they really want to pursue. According to her, a person’s pilot training can cost anywhere between 50 to 120 thousand euros! Second was her struggle to get hired, even with her credentials. She states on her blog, “For me it took almost two years.” Petersson also shared how she would check her e-mail inboxes and find no reply; when she did get a reply, it was assumed she was a man because they referred to her as “Mr”.
Her tale, of course, has a happy ending. She was eventually hired by European airline Ryanair, and is enjoying the fruits of her labor from a few years ago. She’s generous with her knowledge about becoming a pilot, and this good karma has enabled her to take vacations all over the world.
Make sure to visit her Instagram to see great photos of Petersson at work, or sitting inside her airplane’s engine! If you love the surf and sand, you’ll enjoy seeing her surfing and swimming shots. If you’re trying to start a fitness regime, check out her incredible flexibility – this pilot is also a yoga practitioner. Use her as your new fitspiration!
Looking for a role model in pursuing what may seem like an impossible dream? Why not use Petersson as your new role model? You’ll definitely learn a lot from her story, and by keeping with her mantra of “good vibes only”, you’re sure to succeed just like she did.