Everyone at www.shadowteams.com love women who love adventure. When we heard about young Erin Davis and her dream of circumnavigating the Earth in a single engine plane, well, she got our Amelia Earhart and Beryl Markham ringing inside us.
In a world where everything is virtual, we salute a young woman grabbing the realness by the tail and living a life filled with challenge and wonder.
1. How old were you when you started flying? Who taught you?
I first gained my love for flying when I was 7. My uncle (who works for Boeing) had an airplane and the first time we went flying and I was able to take the wheel. In that moment I fell in love. My training started when I was 19 and I switched my major to Aviation Science at Utah Valley University. I got my Private Pilot License with the help of my instructor, Marcos Garcia.
2. Was it love at first flight?
Flying was something that I knew I was meant to do, so when I took my first training flight I was overjoyed. I was also overwhelmed when I found out it was going to be harder than I thought.
3. When did your dream of flying a single engine plane around the world take hold? When did it move from dream to reality?
I came across the Instagram profile of the last woman who achieved this feat while sitting through my brother’s graduation this July. I leaned over to my parents and told them I wanted to beat her record. It instantly became a reality when my parents jumped on board and I decided that I could do it no matter what other people said.
4. Your age group is home playing video games and you are undertaking a real, huge adventure that seems a throw-back to the last century. It’s thrilling. What would you say to more young people about real-time challenges?
I would tell the youth of my generation to be passionate about something, something wholesome that will push you to achieve your dreams. Don’t take your goals to the grave with you. Think big, bigger than you have ever thought before! When I decided I wanted to achieve this flight I knew some habits had to change. Make a schedule for yourself and stick to it. I wake up at 6 and leave my apartment by 7:15. You need to be productive in your day to accomplish your goals.
5. Have you begun to plot your route around the planet? Can you tell us a little about how you plot the route of flying a small plane around the world? Refueling? Staying away from certain geography, no-fly zones, etc?
The route will depend on the international clearances that I receive. The ideal route is starting in Provo Utah; Florida; N/E Brasil; Africa (the country depends on the clearances), Africa is where the clearances get tough and avoiding certain geography starts. After I get through Africa I will be “island hopping” through the Pacific Islands; Hawaii; California; and back to Provo.
6. Are you afraid of being lonely or scared during the flight?
During this flight I will be able to have a navigator with me (hopefully my uncle, or another pilot that I know), so I won’t be too lonely. My biggest worry for the flight is mental and physical fatigue. The average day will consist of eight hours of flying which can take a toll on your body. My plan to fight this fatigue is exercising, training in longer flights, and having food readily available during the flight.
7. Who are your favorite authors who write about flying? James Salter, Beryl Markham, Antoine de St-Exupery, Richard Bach, etc. Do you have favorite movies about flying?
My favorite author is Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin companies. I have been motivated by his determination in starting his businesses, which include the Virgin Airlines. He taught me that even though you may be small or young, you can accomplish great things if you set your mind to it and work hard enough.
8. What do you hope your trip does for young women when they read about it? Create more explorers? Dream bigger? Grab the world by the tail????
Through my flight I want to bring attention to how few women are in aviation, but most importantly I want to inspire the youth to get out and dream. They don’t have to dream about being a pilot (although I would love that), they just need to think big. They don’t need to fit into a mold these days. If they want to break a record, go for it. If there isn’t already a record, who is stopping them from creating one? I want youth to be their own person and to be the best they can. My goal is to inspire those who never thought they could achieve something great because they feel average. My message to them is to look in the mirror, realize that you are not average, tell yourself that you don’t have to be what others make of you, and go out and be great. Find something every day that you like about yourself or something that you are accomplishing, and let others see that in you.
TO FLY WITH ERIN:
Facebook page is Erin Davis, Aviator (www.facebook.com/ErinDavisAviator)
Instagram is emdavisaviator (www.instagram.com/emdavisaviator)
Twitter is @EDavis_Aviator (www.twitter.com/EDavis_Aviator)
Website is davisaviator.wix.com/erindavisaviator