A TEENAGER is reaching for the skies with her ambition to become a pilot – and has already clocked up hours at the controls of several planes.
Rachael Bottomley, 19, from Feniscowles, is determined to break into the traditionally male dominated world of flying aeroplanes after developing a passion for all things airborne.
Rachael, who lives with mum and dad Heather and Michael and has four older brothers, has been fascinated with planes since she was a little girl.
She said: “I’ve always been interested in travel and flying. All my friends call me a 'plane geek'.I recently obtained an NVQ 3 in Airline Cabin Crew where I wanted to learn more about safety regulations, aircraft and overall aviation facts and figures.
“I took my first ever flying lesson at Blackpool Airport which gave me an insight in pursuing the pilot profession as a career.
“I intend to take more lessons at local flying schools to eventually achieve my private pilot’s licence.
“To become a commercial airline pilot I will need to gain my licence and then go onto doing the commercial airline training which usually costs around £60,000, which I'm not sure I can afford. I’m considering going into the RAF to train to be a pilot there with the fighter jets.”
As for being woman in a male dominated profession, she said: “I haven't heard of many female pilots which makes me more determined. It's a huge ambition of mine.”
Rachael has had many flying hours to help give her the insight into becoming a pilot.
Her next step is to achieve maths and English A-levels to widen her options, whether it is pilot studies at university, RAF or a commercial flying school.
Rachael also expanded on her ‘geekiness’. “Plane spotting in Manchester is a perfect day out for me with my camera,” she said. “It's a great atmosphere and you meet great people.
“I love everything about planes all the way from the sizes, speeds, and the noise.
“I never miss an airplane documentary on TV.
“I'm hoping to have an experience in a Boeing 737 full-motion simulator sometime this year to get a feel of the bigger planes which I'm very much looking forward too.”