We first came across Adva Amir on LinkedIn. Her post, unsurprisingly, had garnered over 74,000 likes and signs of encouragement from users. Here is a sliver:
“4 years ago I got to the US alone with 3 big suitcases, 2 kg of Halva, 1 dream, and 0 experience in aviation. Last year, after years of hard work I was hired by the airlines. I thought I finally made it. However, the world had other plans for me, and I was sent home in the middle of training due to COVID-19. It was a challenging year, my future in the aviation industry was doubtful, but I stayed optimistic and this week I flew my first trip for the airlines.
TLDR: Believe in yourself, believe in your dreams, don’t let anyone stop you from achieving your goals. Now is the time. Get out of your comfort zone and go do it. Whatever that is.”
After reading this and hearing her TEDx, we knew we had to learn more about Adva’s post-secondary and career journey, and we’re grateful she empowered us to share it. It’s stories of potential fulfillment, like Adva’s, that exemplify why we do what we do.
Q: You’re a student of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and a graduate of Aviator College of Science & Technology. Clearly, your studies are teaching you to fly but what soft skills are you learning that are integral to your career as a pilot?
A: One of the most important skills in aviation is teamwork. You learn how to work as a team from day one. You get to fly with different pilots almost every day, and you must learn how to work with each and every one of them. This is one of the most challenging things in aviation, imagine that you show up for work, and each day you have a different boss and different co-workers. Learning how to work with different personalities, different mentalities, and different characters is definitely a skill that I’m integrating into my day-to-day life – also outside the aviation world.
Q: What, or who, inspired your journey to become a pilot?
A: At the age of 18, before my army service, I was invited to the Air Force Pilot Training tests. Although I didn’t make it all the way through, it definitely sparked my light. After 3 years in the military, I decided to move to the U.S to begin my flight training.
Q: In your TEDx Talk, How Women Can Change the Future of the Aviation Industry, you note that only 6% of pilots, worldwide, are female. What do you see changing in the industry to move that dial toward a larger number?
A: While the percentage slowly goes up and this year, we are up to 7%, we still have a lot of work to do. We need more role models in the industry, we need to expose more young girls to this amazing profession, we have to come to schools, speak to them and show them it’s possible no matter your gender. We must change the perception. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of stereotypes in the aviation industry, and we have to break them – the sooner the better. I hope that in five years from now, when a female pilot walks into the airport terminal, it won’t be surprising or shocking but it will be completely normal. The perception of what the aviation industry is, and what pilots look like, is what needs to be changed. I feel it almost every day.
Q: If you could give everyone in the world one soft skill right now, what would that be?
A: Creativity. While the aviation world is all about checklists and regulations, sometimes we must be creative and think outside the box. Creative thinking leads to effective problem-solving and can save us a lot of time and resources. This skill is not only essential in the aviation world but everywhere.
Q: What advice do you have for women who are considering studying aviation?
A: Go for it! I strongly encourage any girls and women who are considering a career in aviation to go for it! There will be challenges, but it will be worth every second of it. Believe in yourself, fully, and I guarantee you will be able to overcome any challenge and make every dream of yours come true. (Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.)
Q: You immigrated to America four years ago. In your LinkedIn post you say that you arrived with “3 big suitcases, 2 Kg of Halva, 1 dream, and 0 experience in aviation” – an inspiring story. What advice do you have for other international students who are thinking of moving to a new country to study and pursue their dreams?
A: Coming from a different country is never easy. The language, the mentality, the culture – it was all new to me when I first arrived in the U.S. This was just another challenge in my way, but it was one that I overcame quickly, and you can too. Once you have a goal in front of your eyes, once you are focus and know what you want, nothing else matters. As a foreign student, I struggled a lot with ATC communication. After a while, I realized that air traffic controllers can speak faster than an auctioneer and that aviation English is a whole new language.
Q: What skills do you look for in a co-pilot (beside being able to fly well)!?
A: When you go on a 4-day trip flying, your co-pilot becomes your team, and you have to learn how to work together. Professionalism, honesty, and communication skills are 3 of many skills I look forward to seeing in my co-pilot and I know they are expecting the same from me. Good sense of humor and sarcasm are a bonus (;
Q: The burnout rate for pilots, globally, is over 40%. When you are flying, what do you do to ‘stay grounded’ and avoid burnout?
A: Like everything in life, you have to find the right balance for yourself. Flying , staying in amazing destinations, and exploring new places is truly a gift and I feel blessed every day for being able to do so. Saying that, it’s important to also have a routine outside of work. When I’m not in the air, you can find me surfing, working on my venture, and studying for my aviation degree.
Q: Favourite quote?
A: If you can dream it, you can do it. Really, it’s not a cliché!
Q: What’s next
A: After years in the aviation industry, I realized there is a problem that needs to be solved and I’m passionate to solve it. These days I’m working on making air commute casual as ride-hailing to maximize passengers’ flexibility. Along with my business partners in my home country of Israel, we are seeking to create a platform that will help commuters reach their destination on their own time. As easy as it is to take Uber today, there is no solution like this in aviation, you can either fly expensive jets and have flexibility with your time, or conventional charters with no flexibility, but there’s nothing in the middle. This is what we are solving.