Casey Glynn at Massey University's Milson Aviation Systems Centre.

Female pilot tops class

For the first time since 2009 Massey University’s School of Aviation Outstanding Student Award has gone to a woman. A former Napier Girls’ High School pupil, Casey Glynn not only fulfilled her dream of becoming a pilot, but was also awarded the top prize at this afternoon’s Wings ceremony.

The event marks a student’s completion of the flight-training component of the Bachelor of Aviation degree. For many, getting their commercial pilot's licence, or ‘Wings’, is more significant than their actual graduation ceremony.

In a programme that has many more male than female students, Ms Glynn has stood out for more than her gender. Along with this year’s Outstanding Student Award, she also claimed the Aviation Systems Award and, at last year’s Wings ceremony, she took out the Craig Merryweather Memorial Scholarship. This is presented each year to the student who has best demonstrated their desire to succeed by developing the skills of a future air transport pilot.

Ms Glynn says being a woman has “never been an issue” for her in the male-dominated course. “Many people wonder about that, but I feel like it is only an issue if you make it an issue.” 

But ask if she was competitive towards the boys, and the answer is straightforward and simple: “Yes! Definitely!”

Ms Glynn says she has been drawn to flying ever since her father took her up into the skies in his microlight, although she had to overcome serious motion sickness as a child.

“I think spending time in that [the microlight], and also knowing that I wanted a practical job rather than an office job, pulled me towards a career in aviation,” she says.

Since completing the pilot’s licence component of her degree, Ms Glynn has been working towards her flight instructor’s qualification, which will allow her to become an instructor at the School of Aviation. She is one of only two women on the course. 

Her longer-term plans are not yet fully formed, but they definitely involve being a pilot.

“I just want to fly. I would eventually like to be on a commercial airline but I don’t yet know which one. I am just happy to take any opportunities that come my way.”

In the meantime, Ms Glynn says it’s nice to be recognised for all the hard work she has put in so far, even if winning the Outstanding Student Award was unexpected.

The full list of student award winners at the Wings ceremony were: 

  • Air New Zealand Flying Award: Phannatorn Wasugirativanid
  • Airways Corporation Academic Award: Sebastian Popa
  • Palmerston North Airport Profesional Attributes Award: Anthony Bykerk
  • Fieldair Engineering Ltd Aviation Systems Award: Casey Glynn
  • Hugh Francis Navigation Award: Phannatorn Wasugirativanid
  • Massey University School of Aviation Outstanding Student Award: Casey Glynn

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