By Lê Hương
Meeting Hà Thu Hường, very few people would think the pretty woman with a gentle voice is the co-pilot on a Vietnam Airlines Airbus A321. Her energetic style and friendly manner both add to the equation.
Hường and her dog on her day off. Photo courtesy of Hà Thu Hường
The young woman said she had never thought of becoming a pilot when she was studying at high school until her father suggested it to her.
“My father used to work as a pilot in the 919 Flight Crew Division,” she said. “He wanted me to follow in his footprints.”
The career has turned out not to be as mundane as she expected as it requires energy, creativeness and serious discipline.
“Working as a pilot, a career most people associate with men, I have never felt pressure though sometimes I receive strange looks from others,” she said.
“Though a little weaker than men, women have their advantages in the job,” she said.
Hường at work. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Airlines
"The job is detailed and requires attentive observation, something that women are better than men at. Once they are at work, there is no differentiation between women and men, only the responsibilities to share between captain and co-pilot,” she explained.
Hường said the important thing to becoming a pilot was that you should be intelligent and calmly deal with sudden situations on board. This would require discipline, responsibility and overall – a passion for the job.
Hường now flies 50 hours per month, mostly on middle and short routes.
“When I'm at work, I focus on the job, and when I'm at home, it's all about my family,” she said.
Her husband has a 9-to-5 job while she may work during the week or at weekends.
“Whenever we have free time, we spend it together, either going out for a dinner, to the cinema or simply doing exercise, walking the dog,” she said.
She said she always feel happy because although her husband cannot give her professional advice, he is always a stable shoulder for her to rely on.
Unlike Hường, Brazilian co-pilot Denise Ramos de Oliveira and her husband both work as pilots for Bamboo Airways.
“My family has always supported me and motivated me to move forward and overcome challenges,” she told Việt Nam News. “Luckily, I’m married to a pilot, who understands exactly what my job is, We help each other with the housework and we both understand each other’s responsibilities at work.”
Oliveira thinks women are perfect for the job.
Oliveira has never regretted choosing her present job. Photo courtesy of Bamboo Airways
“A pilot must show discipline, self-confidence and commitment,” she said. “As a leader, he or she must have the ability to think quickly and make decisions in difficult situations, among other things.”
Oliveira said her career has given her the opportunity to witness the most memorable sunrises and sunsets.
“There was this time that we departed very early,” she said. “It was dark and rainy weather, covered by white clouds. After we took off, the clouds suddenly became daylight and we could appreciate the most amazing sun reflecting in many colours off the clouds. It was like magic.”
Oliveira said she can enjoy beautiful scenery in the sky as a pilot. Photo courtesy of Bamboo Airways
Oliveira said she would choose the career again a thousand times if she had to choose again.
“I’m extremely happy with my profession, I feel accomplished I can’t see myself doing anything but flying,” she admitted.
Mentioning International Women’s Day (March 8), she said she wished for empowerment, courage, sensibility and strength to all women.
“A life with gratitude, realisation, consciousness and connection with their inner wisdom,” she added. “”And the knowledge that we can create our lives and rise up ourselves.” VNS