‘I’m a glam pilot – awe-struck men have same reaction when I tell them I fly’

A glamorous pilot says many are gobsmacked by her job.

According to the Pilot Institute, less than 10% of people who fly planes are female. And the fact it's a male-dominated industry is probably why many underestimate Niamh Rosenvinge.

The 22-year-old, who is currently training to be a pilot, was inspired by her dad. He owned an airfield and parachute centre in Peterlee for 25 years – and she's been working there since she was 11.

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She first jumped out of a plane aged 12 and has been doing loop-the-loops in the air since she was 16. Then after finishing her A-levels, she started pilot training aged 18.

But despite her life-long passion, she's often underestimated.

As Niamh has been working towards becoming a commercial airline captain, potential suitors have accused her of lying about her career.

The Newcastle lass revealed: “When I am on a night out and a guy is trying to chat me up. He would say, ‘I am in finance, what do you do?’ and when I tell them that I am training to be a pilot, their face clearly says that they think I am lying.

“People have shot me pick-up lines like ‘Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?’ but I would reply ‘No because I was flying in a plane’.

“Sometimes annoying, but these encounters have been fun, and I especially enjoy watching the look on their faces change when they slowly start to realise, deep in the conversation, that I am in fact, a pilot trainee.

“Their looks change from doubt to awe, and I count that as a win for me.”

Thankfully, people's misconceptions haven't stopped Niamh from bagging dates. She recently appeared on TV show Celebs Go Dating, where she connected with Love Island star Liam Reardon.

She recalled: “The Celebs Go Dating was a great experience; the entire film crew made me feel very welcomed, and Liam was lovely.

“When the episode came out, I was really happy with it, but I hate watching myself. It is so cringy.

“My friends would be watching it and laughing, and I would have to leave the room because I can’t take it.”

She hopes to use her platform to inspire others women in the industry – and is delighted to see more young female trainees join her flying school, Eshott School of Flying.

“My experience has been really positive at the flying school. With so many young girls joining in, I am happy to see that we are all treated equally,” she said.

“Honestly, on the airfield, I have not witnessed any discrimination. It’s only in the outside world that people get taken aback when they learn that I am a pilot or faced any sort of discrimination.

“It was some time ago when I was seeing a guy, and he had given me a gift card, and I was out shopping. I started chatting with this old lady, and I told her that I was training to be a pilot.

“She was shocked and asked me ‘Does he know?’ and I was speechless at her reaction.

“There are still some people out there who think that a woman should be a mother or do a job that would allow her enough time to cater to her family, and that is heartbreaking to witness.”

Flying school can cost around £100,000 when you go through an integrated route – so to save money, she decided to choose a modular qualification instead. She's currently studying for her Airline Transport Pilots Licence (ATPL) exams on her own.

Niamh, who has more than 40 hours of flying under her belt, added: “I need to complete 14 written exams, including instrumentation and navigation, and 100 solo flying hours before I can begin the next stage of flight training.

“I am currently studying with Bristol Groundschool, so I watch webinars from home, and I balance it out with my part-time work to fund it.

“Once I have completed this stage, I will then go on to complete flight training, including instrument rating, multi-engine rating, Upset Prevention and Recovery course and more.

“I am hoping that once I have completed my training, I will have a Frozen ATPL – license you get before completing 1500 flying hours and can apply to be a pilot for my dream airline, and maybe, someday, even fly a private jet.”

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