First qualified Vietnamese-Australian female pilot clears the air


First qualified Vietnamese-Australian female pilot clears the air

During my first year in tertiary education at the University of South Australia (UniSA) in 2003, I studied the Bachelor of Commerce. However, although I was physically present during my economics and financial accounting classes, my mind and spirit always wondered beyond the realms of business studies in search for where my aspirations really were: ‘To be soaring high in the clear blue sky, with the world at my feet and the freedom to enjoy nature’s tranquillity at its best.'

My career turning point came when I came across a group of UniSA aviation students (dressed smartly in uniform) and looking as though they were enjoying the university lifestyle that I had always dreamed of. In 2004, I transferred programs and commenced UniSA’s Bachelor of Applied Science (Civil Aviation). Since the date of my transfer and approximately AUD$17,000 pa out of pocket, I have successfully completed my formal qualification to become a pilot with my graduation ceremony held in March 2008.

UniSA was the first university in Australia to offer a tertiary qualification for pilots and it continues to remain the only university in South Australia to offer civil aviation as a tertiary qualification as well as an integrated flight training program at its Aviation Academy. In summary, the program taught me all the broad theoretical and practical knowledge of the fundamentals of aerodynamics, aircraft systems, meteorology, navigation, and flight planning. In addition, I undertook extracurricular studies to learn Japanese to gain a multi-lingual competitive edge when I enter the workforce.

The most exciting part of my tertiary education so far has been my flying training to obtain my solo license and private pilot’s license. Despite working full-time as a manager at a Petrol Station in addition to extracurricular jobs to tutor maths, floristry and coach the UniSA badminton team to keep up with the cost of the degree and flying training (approximately AUD$45,000 in total), I have thoroughly enjoyed my learning and practical experiences to become a pilot and am proud to be the first qualified Vietnamese female pilot in Australia.

Currently, I am training to obtain my commercial pilot license as well as my instructor rating. An instructor rating will enable me to become a qualified flight instructor. In the short-term, I will be working as an instructor and will apply to fly for private airlines (such as REX or Pel Air), whilst, my long-term vision is to become the chief pilot for Cathay Pacific or ANA Japan Airlines.

From my positive learning experiences to become the first qualified Vietnamese female pilot in Australia, together with the success and personal achievements I have gained, I am a strong ambassador for the aviation industry and will continue to encourage and promote this career path to all students (especially females) around the globe.

For further information about UniSA Aviation, please visit: or contact Head of Aviation, Neil Hyland on (08) 8302 3047.

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