Annabel has been flying Since 1999. She earned her Air Force Wings before learning to drive a car. Throughout her career, Annabel has been challenged to jump extra hurdles.
President Nelson Mandela, knew not only her name, but also her parents names. Annabel has that effect on people. Her sparkling personality is warm, friendly and inviting, but don’t her charm confuse you. She is diligent hard-working and capable. Annabel was a Training Captain at the VIP, 21 Squadron of the SA Air Force. She continues to assist at the Squadron on a part time basis. Annabel is also a Captain at South African Airways, after serving the national carrier for 16 years.
We had a frank discussion about the struggles of being a woman in a male dominated environment. While Annabel trained in the same Air Force that I did, we experienced it in a very different way. Small infringements during her training were met with questions about her ability. She regularly came up against the pressure of being female throughout her time serving her country. What changed for Annabel, was she stopped listening to the naysayers and carried on regardless. Easier said than done.
Annabel’s candid story about needing to be ‘extra prepared’, just to do the same job that men have been doing for many years, hits home. Perhaps this is a conversation that needs to reach the public discourse. My sister, Nicola, has faced similar pressures and roadblocks during her aviation career too. We discuss some of these ideas during this episode too.
Above all, Annabel remains a great friend, I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. Send me a message with any questions or comments about Annabel, flying, or the podcast.
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