Keilir Aviation Academy Commencement Speech

Keilir Aviation Academy graduated fourteen ATPL students from ATPL on 8 June at Andrews Theater in Reykjanesbær, bringing the number of graduates in 2018 to a total of 42 students. Telma Rut Frímannsdóttir gave commencement speech on behalf of the class of professional pilot students. She gave us permission to post her awesome speech.

Keilir Aviation Academy Commencement Speech

Dear fellow students, teachers and other visitors, welcome and thank you all for coming. My name is Telma Rut Frímannsdóttir

Pilot Telma Rut Frímannsdóttir at the graduation ceremony
Pilot Telma Rut Frímannsdóttir at the graduation ceremony

and I am honored to speak on behalf of the flight academy today. I’m not known for giving speeches, and the truth is, that this one is my very first … ever!

I was asked me to speak here today and you can say that she threw me into the deep end of the pool, one last time. When I look back it feels like we have been swimming in the deep end of the pool since we started this program, finding our own ways to stay above the water.

It has been tough … but we have managed to find our way through it … and I’m very proud to be standing here today, with you my fellow students.

We all have our own story on why we wanted to become a pilot. My reason for choosing this career path was not in any way straight forward.

First I thought about a career in business and started at the University of Reykjavík, but soon I learned that it was not the right path for me. Then I took the entrance exam to become a physiotherapist at the University of Iceland. 35 students were accepted. I was the student number 36.

I guess everything happens for a reason because next I started working for WOWair as a flight attendant. That was the start of the journey I’m still on. Being a flight attendant was great, but after a month or so I realized that I was more interested in another job onboard … I wanted to fly the plane myself.

I immediately signed up for the program here in Keilir and one month later I was in class learning Principles of Flight.

The world statistics for women pilots in commercial aviation is only 5%. There is still a long way to parity, but I thank god that we do not have to pretend to be a man to fly, like Marie Marvingt had to in the First World War in the beginning of last century. She needed to disguise herself as a man to fight for the French Army and became the first woman in history to fly combat missions.

Truth be told, it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman; you’re doing the same thing, and women certainly are as good as pilots as men are.

We are only three women in this graduation class today, and the total number of women who have graduated from Keilir is around 12%. It is higher than the global statistics, but we sure have work to do. The lack of women’s representation in commercial aviation leads young girls to believe there something prohibiting them from being pilots. I want to change that!!

I am proud to become a pilot and I will encourage young girls to become pilots because they sure as hell can become one. I can proudly say that Keilir does not discriminate between men and women in any way and my journey at Keilir has been WAY beyond my expectations.

And I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of the amazing staff at Keilir and the ones who have been the most around us.

Most importantly I want to congratulate all of you! Our hard work, long hours of studying and constant stress has paid off. We have earned today’s celebration.

Thank you all one more time … and I will see you up in the skies.

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