Stephany Tarileo

Stephany Tarileo is only the second woman to ever become an airline pilot in Vanuatu.

Women are a minority in aviation, but especially so in Vanuatu, where women are destined to become housewives. Not Stephany. She set out to make a point that even her family didn’t think she could achieve.

Stephany always knew she was destined to become a pilot. When she was younger, she would spend hours watching planes come and go out of the airport. She loved the smell of aviation fuel. She wanted to feel weightless above the clouds.

She was adamant she would someday get her wings. To further fuel her passion her father is also an airline pilot for Air Vanuatu. But Stephany is up for the challenge. She wants to prove to women in Vanuatu, and throughout the world, that if you want something enough – no matter what gender you are or what country you live in – there is nothing stopping you.

The 23-year-old was awarded a NZAid Scholarship to attend Massey University’s School of Aviation and she hasn’t looked back. Now fully qualified, she returned home where she hopes to fly alongside her father, also a pilot.

Her dream is to fly for Emirates but with only a handful of female pilots employed by the company, Stephany knows she will need to work hard and clock up a many flying hours before that will happen.

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