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Three dynamic women who have staked out successful careers in the aviation industry will inspire your female students to explore new career pathways.

Female role models help get this career on the radar of women and girls because they’re able to see someone who looks like them on the job. The video reveals the personal experiences and insights of successful women working in this field.

Aviation and related industries employ millions of people. Increasing numbers of women are establishing rewarding careers in the traditionally male-dominated aviation field.

Role Model Videos: Career Options for Women -- Aviation


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Item #: EDV46

Career Options for Women -- Aviation:

This 24-minute video features profiles of three women with successful careers in aviation:

  • Captain Tanya Sprathoff, pilot and crew commander of an Aurora CP-140
  • Isabelle Marsan, an aircraft mechanic who maintains and repairs internal systems on airliners
  • Dawn Patterson, a bartender-turned-aircraft structures mechanic responsible for aircraft inspection and repair

Additional information from co-workers and supervisors supplements each job profile.

Meet the role models featured in the Aviation video:

career-videos-aviation-teaser2Tanya: Pilot and Crew Commander

“I turned 18 at an air cadet boot camp. The next day, I went to the recruiting center and told them what my dream was.” Tanya flies one of Canada's Maritime patrol aircraft, which is an Aurora CP-140. She is a crew commander, and leads a team of 13 personnel. Her missions involve antisubmarine warfare, patrolling and enforcing Canada's 200-mile fishing limit, surface surveillance and monitoring of Maritime shipping traffic, and watching over the Arctic for sovereignty control. She also participates in search and rescue operations.

It's a life that she enjoys. It brings together her love of flying, and other challenges such as the strategic thinking required in anti-submarine warfare. In addition, she appreciates working with a high-caliber, professional crew of people.

After completing high school, she continued her education at Royal Roads in Victoria, and then went on to the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston where she earned a bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering. Although it is unnecessary to have a university degree to be a commercial pilot, she says a degree is required to fly and be an officer in the military.

Tanya finds that the military provides encouragement for people to move ahead, get promoted, and move around. Postings to different national locations and places overseas are possible. Regardless of locale, however, the same standard benefits available to all personnel apply.


career-videos-aviation-teaser3Isabelle: Aircraft Mechanic

Isabelle Marsan is the third woman to be hired as an aircraft mechanic at the airline for which she works. She works on all systems of commercial airplanes: flight controls, hydraulic systems, landing gear, engines (exterior only), pressurization systems, security systems, and fuel tanks. Eventually, when she becomes licensed, she will be assigned specific systems to work on and take responsibility for.

Isabelle has also done sheet metal work and finds her job as an aircraft mechanic physically more demanding, since it involves both carrying and installing parts. Isabelle finds her work mentally stimulating because the job requires her to learn every system on the plane.

In terms of advancement within the airline company, an aircraft mechanic can eventually become a foreman, inspector, or accident investigator, to name a few opportunities. The salary for an aircraft mechanic can vary from company to company. Since her company is unionized, Isabelle says that the pay is good there compared to a company that maintains smaller aircrafts. For Isabelle, the field of aviation is very interesting. She feels it presents wonderful new opportunities for women who enjoy mechanics, manual labor and technical knowledge.


career-videos-aviation-teaserDawn: Aircraft Structures Mechanic

For Dawn Patterson, the best part about being an Aircraft Structures Mechanic is the hands-on work. She looks for corrosion on the planes, does inspections, removes damaged parts and does sheet metal repairs. A lot of her job involves fabricating of parts and riveting. There are many tools required and a variety of aircraft to work on.

Prior to this career, Dawn worked in bars as a server, bartender, and restaurant manager. She did a job shadow as part of a technical school course and found a hidden interest in mechanical work. After completing a 2 year technical school program, she was hired into her current position. “I did a job shadow and was really interested in the aircraft industry. They remembered me two years later when I came back with my resume.”

The benefit to having a license - in addition to higher pay - is that a mechanic can basically work anywhere in the world. One of Dawn's co-workers spends four months working on helicopters internationally in the oil industry.


Role Model Videos: Career Options for Women -- Aviation


Print order form

Item #: EDV46


Video details:

Run time: 24 minutes total, including three segments of approximately 8 minutes each.
Format: DVD. Closed-captioned.
Year: 2006
Note: Videos are interspersed with Canadian salary and labor statistics, which are similar to the numbers in the United States.
Policies: There is a no-return policy on these videos.
Grade level: Middle School, High School, Two-Year College, Four-Year University

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