Interview with Maria Fagerström - aka Maria The Pilot

Today we have the pleasure that Maria Fagerström took the time to answer some of our questions.

Maria The Pilot
Maria, thanks for taking the time. You do not live in your home country – how does that feel for you?

I’ve always had an idea of living in Sweden where I grew up, but once I got my first job as an airline pilot, that all changed. Now I can’t see myself settle down anywhere as I’d like to see how it is to live in different countries. That’s I think is one of the perks of being a pilot, having the whole world as your playground.

What does your pilot career look like?

My dream about becoming a commercial pilot started when I was very young. My dad has always been my role model and inspiration to pursue my dreams. For almost 20 years he flew long haul across the world, always taking me and my three sisters with him on his travels, I couldn't think of a better way to see the world from such a young age – I fell in love with aviation and the world. My sisters and I grew up with the idea that everything is possible and that we could do what ever we desired in our lives, but you'd have to be willing to work hard, because truthfully very little in life has to do with luck. 2010, when I was 18 years old I got accepted into the government funded aviation school in Sweden, now knows as OSM Aviation Academ. That summer I flew solo for the first time in a single engine piston Cessna 172. When I was 20 years old I graduated from high school of the natural science program and was a proud owner of a commercial pilot license. I then moved back home to the south of Sweden, started working part time at the Swedish ATC (Air Traffic Control) Academy as a simulator pilot, while continuing my studies to become an airline pilot. Summer of 2014, I took my multi engine license, instrument rating, MCC course and ATPL theory. At that time I finally had completed all my aviation training and was now an owner of a frozen ATPL and could start applying for aviation jobs as a first officer. Less than a month after I completed my training I received the great news that I had been accepted into the cadet program for Ryanair, flying the Boeing 737-800 in the right seat as a first officer. After the intense few months of type rating in Amsterdam and London, I was allocated my first base, Palma de Mallorca in Spain. I was fortunate enough to live on this beautiful island for five months during my line training. The months spent on Mallorca quickly made me realize what I value in life and I decided I wanted to stay in Spain, as close to the ocean as possible. In October 2015 I was allocated my new permanent base, my new home Tenerife where I lived for 2,5 months before moving to Alicante together with my boyfriend, who also happens to be a pilot." The plan is to become a captain as soon as possible. Then we’ll see where in the world the opportunities are.

How much longer until you can call yourself Maria, the Captain?

I was hoping to become a captain this year (2019), but the aviation world is a dynamic one that changes all the time. The company I work for decided to stop all upgrades until further notice. Hopefully next year I can start the course together with my boyfriend, who also happens to be a pilot.

You are working for a European low cost carrier. Do you notice any difference as compared to legacy carriers – and if not from your own experience, than by the things colleagues tell you?

It has its perks, like flying within Europe and not having to deal with jet lag. Being on a fixed roster and having a lot of free time, not having to spend any nights away from home staying at hotels. However, I’d like to try the life of being a long haul pilot once in my flying career, I’m sure it has its own perks. But for now, I’m happy where I am.

Though it is rapidly changing women are still the minority on the flight deck. How do you feel about that?

It’s still a long way to go as the numbers of female pilots are only 5%, but it’s great to see that the trend is positive.

Maria Fagerström
Your blog and social media channels have a different angle than a lot of other pilot accounts – how would you describe it and why did you do it this way?

It’s awesome to see so many other female pilots out there using social media, it’s a great tool to spread awareness and information. I always try my best to focus on giving valuable content to my followers, giving them insights into the aviation world from my own perspective as a female pilot.

You are a recognised influencer on social media with almost half a million followers on Instagram. How does it feel being that popular and getting so many likes and comments to your posts?

I put a lot of time and effort in creating content that I believe are valuable for the people who choose to follow me on various platforms, so it’s a nice feeling when you get the reward and positive feedback back from your followers.

You mention in your blog that it is a personal goal of yours to empower people. The current teenager generation consumes social media a lot and many them dream to become a successful influencer one day. Would you rather empower them to follow that path or to become a pilot?

Whatever that might be that you’re striving to achieve, you can do it. As long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort into it, you can become skilled at anything. In the end it’s all about your own mindset.

To find out more about Maria, please have a look at her blog and social media channels:

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