Pioneering female pilot takes to the air with pride

Skilled airline captain trains aviators, juggles family life

By Luo Wangshu | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-01 08:11
Share - WeChat
Huang He (right) goes over a checklist for a flight with crew members. [ZOU HONG/CHINA DAILY]

Breaking gender barrier

Throughout her career, Huang has striven to be recognized as a pilot rather than just a "female" pilot, advocating for true gender equality.

"When people stop calling us 'female' pilots, it will be true gender equality," she said.

Despite being one of the first female pilots in the industry, she never leveraged her gender for professional advantages.

Huang is deeply grateful that throughout her career, the company has consistently upheld gender equality and provided her with various opportunities to showcase and prove herself.

Huang's journey from co-pilot to captain in less than five years was a testament to her exceptional talent and relentless work ethic.

At a time when the average transition from co-pilot to captain took five to eight years, a period that has now been extended to eight to ten years, Huang's swift ascent was a result of seizing the opportune moment when China began training more pilots for its civil aviation industry.

As an instructor captain, Huang was sometimes challenged by older male trainees, but her proficiency and proactive approach won their respect.

"Fortunately, being a pilot is a technical profession. There were trainees — who were older than me — who challenged me, perhaps not because of my gender but my age. However, as soon as I took action, they were impressed and gave me a thumbs-up," Huang recalled.

"My skills speak for me," she said.

While she is comfortable working alongside her male colleagues, she is delighted to witness an increasing number of women joining the ranks.

Air China now has about 80 female pilots and co-pilots, a significant increase from the past.

"Even in the pilots' dining room, I can see more women," she said.

Huang is qualified to train co-pilots and pays particular attention to treating them equally, regardless of their gender, in an effort to avoid the biases she encountered two decades ago.

"Many girls in China dream of becoming flight attendants, a job associated with beauty and elegance. However, with the changing times, I believe that Chinese women have truly achieved the milestone of being able to work in the cabin as well as in the cockpit. Beautiful, graceful, and professional women can also work in the cockpit," Huang said.

Related Stories

Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349