It’s a sight that catches many travelers off-guard as they step into the cabin on charter plane flights and look up to the cockpit: long hair twisted into a bun, slender arms reaching for navigation controls, sparkly wedding rings on the fingers checking switches and indicators. Finally, the pilot turns back to say hello, make an introduction, and you know for sure: it is a woman. Why is it so unusual to see a woman pilot in the cockpit of a charter plane—or other forms of aviation, including commercial aviation? Just how many females are private jet pilots or are in the aviation industry? Before we get into the statistics, let’s take a look at just two of the reasons why the aviation industry—particularly the charter service industry—wishes there were more female charter plane pilots. 1) Female pilots are skilled and excel at paying attention to detail. On charter planes in particular, pilots need both a sense of the aircraft’s innerworkings (performance capabilities, operational procedures, cockpit layouts) to ensure safe and smooth travel, and the steps they have to follow before takeoff. Learn more in our post What Role do Pilots Have in Jet Charter Safety? 2) Female pilots tend to be driven by customer service. In the charter service world, service is everything and we notice women often taking it upon themselves to ensure travelers feel safe and taken care of. We almost always get great customer service feedback with women pilots.

Statistics: Female Charter Plane Pilots

OK, now for the women in aviation statistics. Here are some of the most telling numbers:

All   Women  
609,306 Pilots (total) 42,694 7.01%
162,455 Private* 9,971 6.14%
98,161 Commercial* 6,267 6.38%
149,121 Students 19,219 12.89%

* Includes pilots with an airplane only certificate. Also includes those with an airplane and a helicopter and/or glider certificate. For example, if a pilot holds a private airplane certificate and a commercial helicopter certificate, the pilot would be categorized as commercial. Source: FAA’s Aeronautical Center, Dec. 31, 2017 data, shown in Women in Aviation International. Formed in 1994 out of a need to find ways to support the presences of females in this field, Women in Aviation International says strides have been made since then, but there’s more work to do: “During the last two decades, the number of women involved in the aviation industry has steadily increased and women can be found in nearly every aviation occupation today. However, the numbers are small by comparison. Women pilots, for example, represent only six percent of the total pilot population.”

Why are there so few female charter plane pilots?

It’s hard to say, but some of the reasons could include:

  • A more erratic schedule compared to commercial aviation, and often being the primary caregiver of children could be difficult to arrange last-minute childcare.
  • The expense: Training to become a private jet pilot isn’t cheap. Paying for all that fuel to log required flight time adds up.

Stratos wants to help alleviate the latter potential reason, so stay tuned as we announce news about a women in aviation scholarship in the coming weeks! Are you looking for a charter service broker company that’s making a difference in the aviation world and goes about and beyond on every flight? Welcome to Stratos. Soar higher and reach out to an agent today.