A QUALITATIVE STUDY OF FEMALE AIRLINE PILOTS AND HOW THEY ACHIEVED THEIR GOALS
|Department:||Harold Abel School of Social & Behavioral Science|
|Keywords:||non-traditional careers, aviation, social role theory|
|Full text PDF:||http://gradworks.umi.com/36/28/3628065.html|
The purpose of this study was to examine the experiences of female airline pilots and how they described achieving their goals. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten female pilots employed by commercial airlines. Data collection also included obtaining résumés and other documents relevant to the pilots’ professional development. Early experiences, flight training, on the flight deck, and looking ahead were the four broad categories designated to investigate factors related to what has sustained female airline pilots on their career path. Data analysis included a review of the transcripts and collateral material via direct interpretation, categorical aggregation, and thematic examination. Data analysis and interpretation have revealed that the pilots’ experiences and how they described achieving their goals is consistent with the theoretical underpinnings related to resilience and social role expectations. Even though aviation has been typically designated as a non-traditional or unconventional career for women, these female captains and first officers exhibited personal, academic, and career resilience. Their experiences might offer insights and best practices to organizations. For example, practitioners have an opportunity to facilitate communication on training issues among management, unions, and employees; to assist flight schools and other professional pilot academic programs in the design of academic readiness assessments; and to facilitate mentoring and networking opportunities in group and individual settings.