This 17-Year-Old St Lu­cian Could Soon Be­come the Caribbean’s Youngest Com­mer­cial Pi­lot

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LO­CAL - Here to­day. ca­pa­ble.

At 17, she is still a teenager but this young woman from St. Lu­cia is a few steps away from be­com­ing a com­mer­cial pi­lot, and per­haps the Caribbean’s youngest.

The fol­low­ing in­ter­view by Richard Wil­liams with Claire Daisy Charra was pub­lished on My Caribbean Scoop re­cently:

Q: Could you tell me a bit about your­self?

A: My name is Claire Daisy Charra, I am cur­rently 17 years old. I will be 18 Novem­ber 7th. I was born in 1998. I first started fly­ing April 1, 2016 and fell in love with it the same in­stant! I fly planes; that is my life. My life be­gins when I am air­borne. I am the youngest of two sis­ters. I was raised in St.Lu­cia with my sis­ters and grand­fa­ther and went to the In­ter­na­tional school of St.Lu­cia. I was very dis­or­ga­nized and ir­re­spon­si­ble!

Q: What in­spired you to pur­sue this ca­reer? A:

When I was 14 years old my grand­fa­ther passed away and I moved in with my par­ents. I be­came a pi­lot, like we both dreamed. I had to pull my socks up and get this done not only for my­self, but also for him. I fin­ished my last two years of high school in Do­minica. My par­ents were very sup­port­ive and agreed to help me with my ca­reer goals and found the school, Cir­rus Avi­a­tion, which is a small flight school lo­cated on the West coast of Florida and I can’t thank them enough for choos­ing this one!

Q: Some peo­ple might feel a bit ner­vous about be­ing flown by

a young pi­lot. How would you re­spond to that? A: Peo­ple of­ten feel in­tim­i­dated by the fact that I am work­ing to­wards my com­mer­cial rat­ing at the age of 17 years old. That’s com­pletely fine, I tell ev­ery­body the same thing. “A very ex­pe­ri­enced re­tired army colonel, who has taken me un­der his wing to en­sure that I get the best train­ing I can get, has trained me.” I am just as com­pe­tent as any other mid aged male pi­lot. I do the ex­act same emer­gency pro­ce­dures, train­ing and flights re­quired to­wards get­ting my rat­ing. I take the ex­act same check ride and ex­ams as they do. I just hap­pen to be a 17-year-old fe­male from the Caribbean!

Q: What chal­lenges have you faced along the way to where you are now?

A: I faced many is­sues when I first started. I was a 17-year-old girl, who knew noth­ing about fly­ing com­ing in to fly with the “big boys” And that is ex­actly how ev­ery­body looked at me. Some thought it was a joke; some said I would never make it. I would like to take the time out to say, I cur­rently have my private pi­lot’s li­cense, and my in­stru­ment rat­ing, half way done my com­mer­cial train­ing in ex­actly seven months. I think I did pretty well for my­self. I never gave up. I spent hours study­ing. I went full throt­tle to prove my­self, and to prove ev­ery­body wrong. I love mak­ing my par­ents proud and if it weren’t for them I wouldn’t be

Q: What ad­vice would you

give to young peo­ple who are in­ter­ested in be­com­ing pi­lots? A: My ad­vice to other young peo­ple who are seek­ing to go after their dreams is simple. The club can wait. Friends can wait! Clear your path from any neg­a­tiv­ity and stay de­ter­mined. Never lose track of what you want in life. If you are given the op­por­tu­nity, hang onto it, grab it! Sur­round your­self with pos­i­tive peo­ple who will push you when you fall short, and have faith that the Lord has a plan for you.

Q: You’re a woman; do you think this could make a dif­fer­ence for an em­ployer look­ing for pi­lots?

A: I am a woman, but I do not use it to my ad­van­tage when it comes to fly­ing, be­ing a woman does not help you much in the avi­a­tion in­dus­try. It is set out that it is a man’s job and a man’s job only. Prove them wrong! But not be­cause you are a woman, but be­cause you are ca­pa­ble of ac­cept­ing the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and work­ing hard. Make be­ing a woman a bonus, not an ex­cep­tion. Peo­ple think be­cause you are a woman they make it easy for you, on the con­trary. It’s harder be­cause they think we are not

So for me, I had to work even harder to prove my­self. For my check ride, my ex­am­iner said, “that was in the top three best flights I’ve ever done.” I’ve worked very hard to be where I am to­day, I owe my suc­cess to God for be­ing with me every step of the way, and my par­ents for sup­port­ing me all the way from the Caribbean.

Claire Daisy Charra is well on her way to make her mark in the re­gion’s his­tory books.

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