Alexis Thind is a private pilot, currently completing her commercial pilot certificate in Squamish, a municipality north of Vancouver, Canada. After graduating from the University of British Columbia with a major in Political Science, Thind discovered her love for flying.
She follows in the footsteps of her late father, a retired F-5 fighter pilot and former Boeing 787 Captain who always encouraged her to pursue a flying career. He was one of, if not the first, Royal Canadian Air Force pilot of East Indian descent. He, unfortunately, passed from glioblastoma — but not before seeing his daughter solo an airplane for the first time.
Today, Thind continues his legacy. She’s the proud owner of a yellow M model Cessna 172 that she flies in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. “It’s so much fun. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.. you learn so much. Plane ownership is one of the best ways to learn.” In addition to flying, aircraft ownership comes with a host of other tasks, like keeping track of maintenance schedules, that are relatively new to her. “It’s really rewarding”, she says “learning about stuff that you’re not yet good at.”
Her father faced his share of career challenges as a man of East Indian descent in a very homogenous industry. Thind, too, notices being a bit of an outsider on occasion. But, she says, these events are relatively uncommon. By and large, the aviation community has been overwhelmingly supportive. “I’ve had a couple of negative experiences of racism and sexism, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to all the positivity I’ve received,” says Thind. “The aviation community is amazing. [The negative] is such a small part compared to all the support I’ve received. I wouldn’t be here if not for all the support from people, some of whom I haven’t even met in person.”
When she isn’t busy flying or studying, Thind combines her skills in the liberal arts with her passion for aviation as a writer and interviewer on behalf of Fly For The Culture. As a woman and person of color, she hopes that by highlighting the diversity that presently exists in the industry, aspiring pilots from all backgrounds will be encouraged to see themselves represented in the aviation workforce.
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