Currently serving as a mechanic on one of the UK’s busiest commuter services, she is the only woman pilot in the country
What makes you tick?
To be honest, I don’t see myself as very much of a “person”. It would take a significant change to attract me into something else and something I’d have to get excited about. It would need a hard job to do and a reasonable pay cheque. It would also have to be something I’d enjoy and be able to put a lot of effort into.
Where did your interest in flying begin?
When I was 11 I began playing with the little fold-out joystick on my dad’s plane. We’d do a series of spirals. At that age you don’t understand what’s happening but you just love it.
Why did you go into transport management, rather than aviation?
I applied to engineering colleges but by my early 20s I was a fast lane driver. It suited me in that I could clock up a lot of hours, and my journey home in the middle of the night didn’t interfere with family life. I always wanted to be involved in something that had impact on the environment. I’d also like to be part of a team that had diversity.
What is your personal favourite pilot?
There are too many to mention. I’ve been a fan of pilot Siofra’s (Siofra Hardcastle) voiceover since the 90s. I’ve also admired the work of Alex Sullivan, of Cyanide and Happiness, and other women such as Shannen Doherty, Carly Simon and Cate Blanchett.
In your time as an engineer, were there times when you felt stereotyped?
When I first started my engineering career I was teased by colleagues and customers who assumed I was inexperienced and inexperienced because I was female. It had a cumulative effect of making me feel like an outsider.
The most important thing is to remember that you’re not the only one who feels that way. Telling them you’re not is far more powerful than replying that you’re not.
You have worked as a mechanic in the private sector, but now you’re qualified as a pilot, are you looking for a job in aviation?
I’m not sure what I’m looking for. If there’s a job that gives me the opportunity to promote further diversity on a pay packet, whether that’s from the side of being a pilot or on the ground, I’d seriously consider it.
What would happen if there were an all-female pilot team?
Well, I’m pretty sure that there’d be a lot of female passengers, but I’m not sure whether that’s good or bad. I don’t think it needs to be the be-all and end-all for culture. I’d also probably be leading the way.
Tatiana Calderon’s Tail Tip Midweek passenger charter service begins services on London Underground (Tube) from Soho on Monday 18 December.