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Women’s History Month Spotlight: First Officer Laura Garcia

January 10, 2023

Women’s History Month Spotlight: First Officer Laura Garcia

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 First Officer Laura Garcia, a PSA Inclusion Council member who says flying has been a lifelong dream. She started her aviation journey at Purdue University, earning a professional flight degree and ratings.

In honor of Women’s History Month, we talked with Laura about the importance of representation in the flight deck, 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?

I started flying in 2014 at Purdue University, where I received my bachelor’s in professional flight and earned all my flight ratings. Once I became a flight instructor, I moved to southern Indiana, teaching in a small flight school. I taught for two years during the pandemic until my ATP flight requirements were met. I got hired at PSA in 2021 and am currently a First Officer.

As a First Officer, what impact do you feel you have as a woman in the flight deck?

I think having that representation of a female pilot in the flight deck is important. Every pilot has a different perspective to offer, and I always look forward to contributing my thoughts and experiences. As a member of the Inclusion Council, I look forward to being involved in recruitment and outreach events with organizations such as Women in Aviation and the Latino Pilot Association.

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

There are so many women that have been impactful and inspiring to the aviation industry. Amelia Earhart and Bessie Coleman were two American pioneers in the industry that paved the trail for present-day aviators. American hero Tammie Jo Shults was an airline pilot who safely landed after an engine exploded during cruise. Wally Funk was an amazing aviator who constantly gave back to her community and showed that hard work and perseverance paid off. And lastly, all the female pilots I come across either from flight school or just walking through the airport. They remind me that, slowly but steadily, we are increasing our presence in this industry!

What’s your favorite thing about being an aviator, and why do you fly?

My favorite thing about being an aviator is the dynamic and fast-paced environment. I enjoy flying to new airports and exploring new places. Every day is different, and as a pilot, you are constantly learning and growing your skills. There’s always a new or different airplane to fly, which makes the job exciting! I also enjoy being a part of the aviation community and meeting new people who share the love of flying.

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

Aviation is an ever-changing industry, and although super rewarding and exciting, it can sometimes be intimidating. I urge women and girls to give flying a chance, head to their local airport and take a discovery flight. The joy of getting into a small piston aircraft and flying is incredible! Becoming an airline pilot may not always be easy, and there will be challenges along the way, but there are great support systems that help and encourage us. I love my job and will continue encouraging others to explore this career path!

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