Island Girl to Airline Pilot: A Story of Love, Sacrifice and Taking Flight
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 churning out 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. Silva faced challenges in Australia as a woman of color. Then came the biggest challenge of all - Ken was diagnosed with cancer. He said to Silva, "Do you still want to fly? life is too short, if you have a dream, go for it." 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. With every new height Silva reached in her career, Ken's struggle with cancer continued. Despite the hardships, Silva is sure she would dare to do it all over again. Dare to love a white man and dare to pursue her dream to go from island girl to airline pilot.