Pi­lot wife’s idea takes flight

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS - Jes­sica War­riner

A BEL­MONT mother has taken to so­cial me­dia to help the part­ners of pi­lots who of­ten strug­gle with iso­la­tion.

Erica May, a mother of two and the part­ner of a com­mer­cial air­line pi­lot, has ne­go­ti­ated the avi­a­tion life for al­most 10 years .

She started the Sky Fam­i­lies web­site to sup­port and con­nect fam­i­lies of pi­lots.

“The life­style is one that comes with a unique set of chal­lenges and if you’re not equipped to deal with these chal­lenges, the life­style can be quite over­whelm­ing, in par­tic­u­lar for the part­ner of the pi­lot,” she said.

“You have to be flex­i­ble, re­silient and in­de­pen­dent. You’re go­ing to go to a lot of stuff alone – you’re go­ing to go to wed­dings alone.

“I was see­ing a lot of peo­ple strug­gling and it’s not al­ways easy, but I think there are ways to make it easier.”

Ms May said she wanted to bring the fam­i­lies of pi­lots to­gether.

“I want to bring peo­ple to­gether in per­son where I can in Perth, then ex­tend that to other ar­eas,” she said.

“But I also want to bring ev­ery­thing to­gether on­line. My goal is for it to be a re­source where they can go for in­for­ma­tion and ad­vice.”

There is of­ten lit­tle pat­tern to pi­lot ros­ters and with chil­dren in the mix, the er­ratic sched­ules are even more dif­fi­cult to jug­gle.

“For me, it was cer­tainly try­ing to go back to work af­ter hav­ing chil­dren… I worked busi­ness hours but if you’ve got a nurse on night shift and a pi­lot on call, you might need child­care at three o’clock in the morn­ing. But you might need it, you don’t even know for sure,” she said.

“Usu­ally one per­son ends up giv­ing up their ca­reer and it’s usu­ally the part­ner.”

Ms May ended up on the same path as many other pi­lot part­ners, start­ing her own busi­ness – she has a black belt and is teach­ing freestyle mar­tial arts to chil­dren at MMA 24/7 in Bel­mont.

Along with pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion and re­sources for pi­lot fam­i­lies, Sky Fam­i­lies pro­motes the busi­nesses of the part­ners on the ground.

“So many of us end up start­ing our own busi­nesses be­cause we need that flex­i­bil­ity, so part of sup­port­ing part­ners of pi­lots is pro­mot­ing what they do to others,” Ms May said.

Bel­mont MLA Cassie Rowe is a big sup­porter of the Sky Fam­i­lies project.

“We know that a par­ent work­ing away on a reg­u­lar ros­ter can put ex­tra pres­sure on fam­i­lies,” she said.

“It’s great to see a lo­cal ini­tia­tive work­ing to pro­vide es­sen­tial sup­port and con­nect fam­i­lies who ex­pe­ri­ence these unique chal­lenges.”

Sky Fam­i­lies will hold a get-to­gether on Sun­day, Au­gust 13.

For more in­for­ma­tion visit sky­fam­i­lies.com.

Pic­ture: Jon Hew­son www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au

Erica May with Milla (4) and Jack (6). d472303

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