Meet the adventure-hungry pilot encouraging other women to take to the skies

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Anna Brech
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Of the 130,000 pilots who hit the flight deck worldwide, only around 3 percent are women. So an Instagram account like that of Dutch aviator Eser Aksan Erdogan couldn’t be more relevant.

Erdogan, 31, is based in Turkey and has been piloting Boeing 737s around Europe and the Middle East for the past three years.

Her job on a passenger jet for Pegasus Airlines offers plenty of scope for fulfilling wanderlust, and has taken her everywhere from the remote beauty of the Wadi Rum in Jordan, to Capri’s iconic coastline and the yacht-filled harbours of Malta.

Erdogan documents her role and the places it takes her on her Instagram account, which has clocked up over 29,000 followers keen to get a taste of a female pilot’s (enviable) life.

As well as glossy travel shots, Erdogan – who describes herself as a “frequent traveller and wine lover” – posts snaps from inside the cockpit, whether that’s breathtaking birdseye landscapes (“another day in the office”) or the mechanics of the flight deck.

She even has one classic photo of herself lying along the rim of a giant Boeing engine. 

“Being a pilot was my childhood dream,” Erdogan tells the Mirror. “I was kind of a tomboy so I always wanted to fly an F16, but since I'm against war, violence and armies, flying big jets is so much better.

“The eternal blue of the sky, fluffy clouds and the ability to visit countries far, far away have always had a big attraction on me.

“The best part of the job is that is never gets boring and we always get to see the sun when you climb over the clouds on rainy days,” she adds.

"You can see all kinds of beautiful things up there, like at night at 41,000ft when there is no moon you can see the Milky Way sometimes.”

Erdogan says one significant flight saw her and another female pilot land in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – a country where women are not allowed to drive cars.

“A group of ground workers was staring at us like they've never seen girls fly before,” she recalls.

The pilot hopes that by talking and writing about the perks of the job, she will encourage more women to smash the glass ceiling in a vocation still largely dominated by men.

"There have been days when I woke up and didn't know my location for a minute,” she says. “You will miss a lot of birthdays, special occasions and anniversaries, you will lose a lot of friends, but in return you get the most colourful, awesome job with lots of travelling - and did I mention you have the best office view in the world?

“From the bottom of my heart I hope more girls would choose this career since it's still a pretty much male-dominated industry.”

For more information and support on embarking on a career as a pilot, visit the British Women Pilots’ Association.

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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.