A 26-Year-Old Woman Just Became The World's Youngest Airline Captain

Carol Nisar
Kate McWilliams told BBC she dreamt of flying since she was four. She said, “I joined the air cadets when I was 13 where I got plenty of flying experience.”

According to the International Society of Women Pilots, only 140 women are captains compared with 130,000 existing women pilots internationally. 

Even though there are still glass ceilings for women to break, a 26-year-old woman from Surrey, England has risen above the stereotypes and is working as the youngest commercial airline captain in the world, BBC reported.

Based at Gatwick Airport in London, Kate McWilliams told The Independent that “she gets asked how old [she is] on an almost daily basis.”

Twitter, @BWPA_UK

McWilliams has been working with easyJet since May 2011 as a first officer and recently was promoted to captain after undergoing the appropriate training and passing the obligatory course. She said, “When I tell [people] I’m 26, most people are pleasantly surprised and impressed with my achievement at such a young age.”

McWilliams’ is already being touted as a shining role model for future generations of women aviators.

Julie Westhorp, an official of the British Women Pilots’ Association, told BBC, “It clearly demonstrates to other young women that it is possible to succeed as a pilot in commercial aviation.” Westhorp added that she hopes McWilliams’ “inspires more women to consider pursuing a career in aviation.”

McWilliams understands that since she works for the public, she could be perceived as a positive role model for girls and young women who share dreams of flying. She told BBC, “I would strongly urge females interested in aviation to think about pursuing a career as a pilot, and any existing pilots to push themselves to become a captain.”

Remarkably, McWilliams admitted that becoming a captain wasn’t her initial career plan, although she had an interest in flying from the age of four. She said, “I didn’t imagine a career in commercial aviation as I didn’t know any commercial pilots who I could ask for advice… I never even thought it could be an option available to me.”

Although McWilliams may be considered to be an anomaly in her career, she has proven herself to be more than capable despite the odds.


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Banner photo credit: Twitter, @atulkarmarkar