Judy Choi is an Airbus A320 and A330 flight instructor with CAE in Hong Kong. She explains what first got her excited about aviation and what she enjoys about her job
Tell us about your role at CAE. What are the most enjoyable aspects of being an instructor?
My role is to facilitate the learning of our trainees, and help them achieve the required performance and standard in terms of attitude, skills and knowledge as competent crew on the flightdeck. An instructor has to be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the trainees and adapt appropriate instruction techniques to motivate them – not only to meet the standard, but also to continue developing themselves further, as their experience and understanding grows along their career paths. The most enjoyable aspects of being an instructor, of course, is seeing those trainees grow and develop their way of learning to achieve higher things. I learn a lot from my trainees as well. They help me gain different perspectives and improve my skills. You learn something new every day.
What was your route into your current job and how did you get started in aviation?
I joined the Hong Kong Air Cadet Corps, set up by the British armed forces, at 11 years old. I was fortunate to receive flying scholarships to train with the Royal Air Force air cadets and met many inspiring individuals in different bases and flying schools. The air cadets provided a lot of opportunities to learn and gain deeper understanding of the industry. As my passion for flying grew, I started my career flying the Airbus A330 with a local airline in Hong Kong. I have always wanted to explore and learn. Eventually, I landed my current job as an instructor with CAE.
What first attracted you to a career as a pilot? Who were your influences? Was there one defining moment?
My dad worked in the old Kai Tak Airport, and as a kid I would go to the Checkerboard [hill] for plane spotting and picked up my dad after his shift. Then I joined the air cadets once I was old enough. But the defining moment was when I received my first flying scholarship and attained my first solo on a Cessna 172. After recognising my ability and passion for flying, I just kept going.
Are you confident that the industry can attract more young women to become commercial pilots?
Definitely. Everyone is unique in terms of his or her strengths and potential, regardless of gender. The industry definitely needs inclusivity and diversity to grow and be better. With the ever-expanding scope of social media and technology, everyone can easily get all the information they need. With a better understanding of the industry beforehand and the airlines’ determination to attract more female pilots, a lot more young women will be physically and mentally prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the flightdeck.
What advice would you give a girl or young woman in high school thinking about a career as an airline pilot?
Do a lot of research and gain a better understanding of what it takes to develop your career. Know your strengths and weakness and resolve to keep getting better. Acknowledge your unique capability and keep yourself motivated. Never fear about failing and learn from your failures. Be confident in yourself, be resilient, and never give up on your dream.
This content was paid for by CAE and created in association with FlightGlobal