Every pilot has a story on how he or she decided to become a pilot. Mine is a little different because I don’t fit in the big percentage that wanted it ever since they were kids. For me, it was love at first sight, and I knew it when I experienced it first hand: I wanted to give wings to my big dream.
I have said this story many times in interviews, but I never said what made me do it. Ever since I was little, my parents noticed that I had tons of energy and decided to do something about it, so they took me to try different sports. My first stop was ballet, but it didn’t quite end well since I couldn’t perform the right pose and manage to stay in one leg. Then, my parents took me to Martial Arts, which were perfectly shaped for my character, the “I will not sit in my place for the second kind of character.” I still remember my first day on the tatami, being super involved and determined, but my kimono’s long belt could not fool anyone. That is why that day, I ended up falling and stumbling a few times. However, I always stood up and never complained, so this was it: I was a five years old little girl on a tatami ready to learn how to protect and self-discipline myself. Things for me were serious, winning and being successful was important, and I remember when I started biting other kids because it was the only way I could win the fight; however, my cousin told everything about my habit to my parents, so it ended up quickly. I have been practicing Martial Arts for 10 years: Aikijutsu, Aikido, Takeda Ryu, Ninjutsu, Judo, and Kempo plus another year of learning Japanese language and I am beyond grateful for all the lessons I have learned.
Later on, in my life’s journey, I have discovered a new passion. It all started when we went training in a remote place in the mountains, and it took my breath away. From Martial Arts to climbing and mountaineering, it was only a step, and I fell in love with the beauty of nature. My next adventure was starting, and the everlasting love for mountains emerged. This love summed up a lot of trips to the mountains, and it all climaxed with the Mont Blanc summit that I have conquered at only 19 years old.
How did I get to aviation from all this? My passion for the mountains was getting bigger and bigger, so I needed more and more gear for my climbing, so I told my parents I want a pair of boots that were quite expensive. That summer, my father organized the European Championship of Radio-controlled Helicopters. My father asked me if I could help the team and go on the airfield. I have easily accepted the offer to achieve my goal and get the desired boots.
I was quite determined about it. I woke up early every day during that Championship. I have met incredible people and heard stories from all over the world, but one morning, this aerobatic aircraft took off in front of us: an Extra 300 from the Romanian Aeroclub. The incredible sound the aircraft made as it was leaving plus the butterflies in my stomach changed my mind forever. I knew right then and there that I would not stop until I am in an aircraft and experience the art of flying.
That afternoon while I had dinner, I told my parents that I want to be a pilot and that I will start chasing my dream as soon as possible. They took me seriously, so next day I was back on the airfield for a flight with an instructor on a Zlin 172 over my hometown and back, and there it was: a true passion that I never gave up until today.
The following weeks during that summer, I woke up every single day without any sophisticated alarm system in place ( believe me, it was hard since I am not a morning person). I rushed to the airfield, helped with taking out if the hangar all the aircraft and gliders, cleaning the grass runway, hoping that somehow one day I will get again the chance to fly even for five minutes.
The summer was gone, and in the autumn, I started a new life as a student in Bucharest, away from my beloved hometown and airfield, at the Aerospace Engineering University. Months were passing by, and all I could think was to find a way to go back in the air.
One day during a conversation over a cup of coffee with some friends from University, one of them said there would be a new class for civil helicopter pilots; however, everyone wants to fly an airline aircraft, so nobody will probably go. But the next second I found myself speaking out loud: I will do it, I want to fly a helicopter! So here I was applying for a scholarship and praying I will be admitted on my journey towards aviation no matter if it was an aircraft or helicopter.
I still remember when I found out I was in and how it felt to cry for happiness.
A new door was opening, and I knew I had to go through it with all my heart. I flew helicopters for three years, and the sense of freedom I felt during those flights was surreal.
The helicopter life is a different story that I will share with another occasion!
The truth is that nobody will knock at your door, delivering your dream on a silver platter, but if you work hard, believe, and take on chances, you will quickly find yourself making solid steps towards accomplishing your dreams.❤️