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Island Girl to Airline Pilot : A story of love, sacrifice and taking flight - Silva Mcleod

Island Girl to Airline Pilot

A story of love, sacrifice and taking flight

By: Silva Mcleod

Paperback | 5 April 2023

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This is the incredible story of Silva Mcleod, the first Tongan woman to become an airline pilot, told with frankness and wit by Silva herself.

Silva was a Tongan girl from a small island with little hope of anything beyond getting married and having babies. Her dreams of becoming an airline pilot seemed just that — dreams — until

Ken McLeod came into Silva’s life. He was an Australian hired to build a hospital on her island of Vava‘u. She started dating him despite frowns from her family. After a whirlwind romance, they got married in a traditional Tongan ceremony before moving to Australia.

There were many barriers to succeeding in such a male-dominated field, but Silva refused to give in. She became the first Tongan female airline pilot and worked for the Royal Flying Doctor Service amongst other small airlines then Virgin International, flying B777s around the world.

About the Author

Silva Mcleod was born on the small Tongan island of Vava‘u. She married Ken, an Australian, in a traditional Tongan ceremony before moving to Australia.

Silva had always dreamed of flying and with Ken’s encouragement she braved the barriers to enter the male-dominated field of aviation. She became the first Tongan female airline pilot and worked for the Royal Flying Doctor Service amongst other small airlines before joining Virgin International, flying B777s around the world.
Industry Reviews
"Silva McLeod had always dreamed of flying. Despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and with the unwavering support of her husband Ken, Silva braved social and cultural barriers to become the first Tongan female airline pilot. She shares her amazing story in her memoir Island Girl to Airline Pilot.."

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