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Women’s History Month: Captain Emma Zwick

January 10, 2023

Women’s History Month: Captain Emma Zwick

March is Women’s History Month – a time to celebrate women’s contributions to our nation and communities. It’s also a time to recognize our team members and highlight their stories in the aviation industry and beyond.

Today, we introduce Captain Emma Zwick, whose flying journey began when her father surprised her with a discovery flight. From there, she researched collegiate flight training programs and received her ratings and degree.

In honor of Women’s History Month, we talked with Emma about the importance of representation in the cockpit, her heroes, and the advice she’d give to women and girls who aspire to be pilots.

What was your journey to aviation and PSA?

My journey in aviation began with my love for travel. I always loved flying as a passenger and staring out my window at the world below. One night I was talking to my mother about how we both wanted to fly a plane for ourselves. About a week later, my father surprised us by taking us to the local flight school to do a discovery flight. As soon as we took off, I knew I was in love. When we landed, I told my parents this was what I wanted to do for a career. After receiving my ratings and degree, I joined PSA’s Cadet Program as a flight instructor in the fall of 2019.

As a Captain, what impact do you feel you make as a woman in the cockpit?

As a female Captain, I offer a different perspective to contrast my male First Officers. I also can give the female First Officers that I fly with a rare chance to have someone who relates to them and has dealt with the same issues.

Every year I see more and more women pilots entering the industry, and it’s so amazing to see. I am thankful for all the amazing women who have come before and made way for me. I believe we have come a long way. The best part of breaking through is that you slowly make space for more and more to come through after you. I love to see and inspire women and young girls to achieve their aviation dreams.

What advice would you have for women and girls who aspire to be where you are in your career?

My advice to women and girls is to never believe you aren’t good enough and never question how far you have come. It’s common to feel “imposter syndrome” and to feel like you don’t belong or are not good enough. You need to have confidence in your abilities to make it. Every step forward you make in your career is because you earned it.

In light of Women’s History Month, who are your heroes or women you admire, and why?

In terms of my heroes, of course, we have Amelia Earhart, Bessie Coleman, and the brave WASPs. Learning about these strong women at a young age has shaped me to grow up never questioning if women could fly. Besides them, it really is the women in aviation that I interact with daily that continue to inspire me and push me to do more. Everyone I have talked to has been open about what they have done and what they have overcome to be here. It’s that vulnerability that keeps me inspired every day.

Lastly, what’s your favorite about being an aviator, and why do you fly?

My favorite thing about being an aviator is just flying. Every day when I take off, and we climb up and see the world shrink below, I am in awe of how beautiful it all looks. I’ll never get sick of the view as long as I fly. Along with that, actually flying the plane itself is fun. Having a difficult approach with high winds and weather and then having a nice and smooth landing is one of the best feelings.

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