Seeing the proverbial glass as half full when there is so much bad news probably seems challenging, if not completely ridiculous. But as we learned during our discussion with Susanna Sundberg aka @susythepilot, staying positive gives you the power to push through difficult times and prepare for clearer skies.
CAE: You posted a video on Instagram that’s getting a lot of attention. Where did you get the idea for it?
Susanna: A pilot colleague gave me the idea of recording a short video message with something encouraging because we’ll all going through a difficult time.
CAE: Your first message was to stay current, why?
Susanna: I’ve started flying in 2001 and commercially since 2007, so I’ve lived through several crises. Through it all, I learned that the only thing that got me a job was to keep my license and medical valid and kept on flying. I did that by renting an inexpensive small plane just to stay current. The point is, you have to be ready to work. You’re are always going to get a call at the last minute where they ask if you can start on Monday, and not three months in advance. You can’t tell your employer that you need a few weeks to prepare. You need to respond quickly when they need you.
CAE: For someone who is a pilot today and they aren’t working, what advice do you give them about the industry and getting a job.
Susanna: There are a lot of positions within an airline and I encourage them to say within the environment. When you stay within the aviation industry, you can make a lot of connections that can lead to other positions as well.
CAE: How did you fall in love with aviation?
Susanna: As long as I can remember, airplanes, flying and space fascinated me. So it was a natural choice for me to become a pilot when I was around 17 or 18 years old. I’m the only pilot in my family, so I don’t know where that came from!
CAE: What aircraft do you fly today?
Susanna: I fly an Airbus 320 and fly Europe and Northern Africa. Of course, in mid-March everything stopped. But as of the first week of August, I am flying again! There are some new adjustments, but overall I am super happy.
CAE: The other thing you highlight on your Instagram account is that you’re a Mom. Talk to me about being a Mom and a pilot.
Susanna: Before I became a Mom I thought about continuing without kids. I liked my free time, traveling and sports. You have to plan more, have a good babysitter and then it’s no problem. I’m okay with being away a few nights a month and when I’m home it’s great too.
CAE: As you rediscover your passion by flying again, how do you mentally prepare for getting back into flight?
Susanna: I try to put myself mentally into any situation that could arise and see if I am prepared for it or if there is something I don’t remember. I go back through all my notes from when I did my type rating. I read through my previous checks, all the recommendations from my instructors and just visualize myself flying.
CAE: Many of your colleagues won’t be flying in August. What’s your message to them?
Susanna: To aspiring pilots, my message is to continue with what you are doing. Once you’ve started your training, don’t stop. In one or two years things could be completely different. If you’re a pilot now, stay current. Most of all, be positive because things always change!
CAE: Susanna, you’re an inspiration to us all. For our readers, I invite you to watch Susanna’s video on her instagram @Susythepilot
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