Christine Debouzy inspires women to let their dreams soar

Visiting Hyderabad, the President of the Association of Women Pilots Association in France shares her journey in the aviation sector

Visiting Hyderabad, the President of the Association of Women Pilots Association in France shares her journey in the aviation sector

At 6 feet, Christine Debouzy stands tall. The President of the Association of Women Pilots Association in France attended Hyderabad’s Alliance Francaise and interacted with students and enthusiasts.

This is Christine’s second visit to Hyderabad. On her maiden trip in February 2020, she had visited the city’s prominent landmarks, Charminar and Chowmahalla Palace. “I loved eating biryani at Meridian Cafe,” she laughs. At the time, Christine was in India to see Dr. Harpreet A. De Singh, the president of the Indian Women Pilots Association, and also oversee the work to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU would “open a new France chapter of IWPA (The Indian Women Pilots’ Association) and International Women Professionals in Aviation & Aerospace (IWPAA) to partner and work for more women in aerospace.”

Dream come true

Christine’s 35-year career in aviation is a dream come true. During a trip down memory lane, the 62-year-old recalls an image that has stuck in her head since she was five. “My father was an employee of Berlin Tegel Airport and we lived nearby. Seeing the cockpit of a military plane made me feel at home; I also wanted to work in it so I could travel. When I saw an airplane in my dreams, I realized I could become a pilot.”

Christine Debouzy (ex CDB A380), Head of AFFP Piloting Grants Isabelle Gillard (CDB B777) (left) and Captain Zoya Agarwal (right)

Christine Debouzy (ex CDB A380), Head of AFFP Piloting Grants Isabelle Gillard (CDB B777) (left) and Captain Zoya Agarwal (right) | Photo credit: special arrangement

Flying gliders at a summer camp as a 15-year-old and interacting with wannabe pilots from the French National Aviation School at the camp further enhanced her love of flying. “The students looked so happy. †

After studying for three years at the aviation pilot school in 1978, her first job was as a flight instructor towing gliders, followed by a three-year stint on corporate jets at Le Bourget Airport in France and 35 years with Air France. She considers herself fortunate to have witnessed major changes in the aviation sector in her time and says: “I had an exciting career at Air France, being part of many changes in techniques and technology. The aircraft control system has evolved from traditional hydraulic controls to electric; the engines became bigger, faster and more economical than before; computers played a big part.”

From flying cargo and commercial passenger flights around the world to trips to Cairo, Alaska and Uzbekistan, her journey is full of wonderful experiences. “I could fish for salmon in Alaska, meet Russian astronauts in Uzbekistan and connect with archaeologists in Alexandria near Cairo who took me around the lighthouse; I have flown cargo flights for them in the past and we have developed a great friendship. †

Christine Debouzy

Christine Debouzy | Photo credit: special arrangement

With over 20,000 flying hours, her proud moments included entering the National School of Civil Aviation (ENAC), becoming a captain of B737 when she was pregnant and retiring as a captain of Airbus A380. “Once we had serious engine damage in Alger with a B727, we threw fuel overboard and had to go back to the airport with two engines instead of three. With sick passengers on board, we had to reroute the flight to the Santa Maria Islands.”

The best thing about flying, she says, is the air. “The sky is never the same and always gives a different experience. The landscapes are so beautiful from the air and when you take off you forget your problems and you are on your own.”

She also built a new SE Aviation aircraft – MCR4S with a Rotax 915IS engine (which took two years to build). She currently works as a flight instructor at Aero, her flying club in Paris.

To encourage more girls to fly, she advises: “Focus on science in school, try flying gliders/small planes to see if you like flying. Explore different options to become a pilot and be motivated, the to have tenacity and to be organized so that people respect you It’s fine to be a pilot and also a mother because on days off you can stay at home Children are only happy when the mother is happy so let your dreams run wild. “

SOURCE : www.thehindu.com

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