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Twin sisters double delight in aviation industry

Twin sisters double delight in aviation industry

(Link to Waikato Times version of our press release here)

Waikato-based twin sisters Emma-Jane and Sarah-Lee Lacy (24) are proving to be a double delight in the aviation industry.

Typically the number of males far outweighs the number of females working in the industry globally. However, the unbalanced statistics aren't stopping these sister from pursuing their passion.

Both women work for world-leading flight training organisation, CTC Aviation; Emma Jane as a flight instructor and Sarah-Lee as a training support manager.

And this month the twins worked as a team to get Sarah-Lee that much closer to accomplishing her Private Pilot's License (PPL).

"Although my full time job is a training support manager for CTC Aviation, I am also studying towards my PPL," Sarah-Lee said.

"A major milestone within this qualification is what's known as a 'first solo flight.' It's a complete a take-off, a short flight, and safe landing all alone – and one of the most memorable moments for anyone working towards a PPL," Sarah-Lee said.

And remarkably it was Emma-Jane – who is a qualified flight instructor - that agreed to coach Sarah-Lee through this milestone.

"I know of a few siblings in aviation, but very few who are both females and none who are female twins. So sending Sarah-Lee on her first solo flight was a unique and privileged experience to say the least," Emma-Jane said.

Sarah-Lee described the experience as the best thing she's ever done.

"It was unforgettable - both flying solo, and having Emma-Jane coach me through it. Once it was over I still couldn't immediately comprehend what I'd done, it was so surreal," she said.

The twins' feat is particularly timely. CTC Aviation's airline partner, British Airways in the UK, has just launched a campaign for more women to enter the industry.

CTC Aviation Chief Operating Officer – Ab initio Training (NZ), Peter Stockwell, said as it stands, approximately 50% of the world's population is female, yet only about 4% of airline pilots globally are female.

"Despite this imbalance, the success of women in the aviation industry both historically and in recent times has been significant," he said.

"Our very own New Zealander, Jean Batten, is celebrated around the world for her heroic solo flights during the 1930s and is widely regarded as one of this country's greatest aviators," he said.

"Not only that, of the women who have studied with CTC Aviation in New Zealand, one is now employed by Jetstar Australia, one by a Qantas regional carrier, one by Vanilla Air in Japan, one by Jetstar Pacific in Vietnam, Emma-Jane is working for CTC Aviation as an instructor, and another with the Territory Air Service in Darwin, Australia."

"Women have a lot to bring to this industry. We are proud of Emma-Jane and Sarah-Lee and look forward to seeing more women follow their aviation career ambitions just as they are doing," he said.

With her sister's recent accomplishment and her own career achievements in mind, Emma-Jane also encourages more women to enter the aviation industry.

"Gender doesn't determine someone's ability to work in this industry. If you're willing to put the hard work in, you'll get results regardless of whether you are male or female.