Fearless FlyGirl — Rohaise Firth-Butterfield

Rohaise Firth-Butterfield is quite an inspiration. Her enthusiasm for flying is infectious and her record is impressive already — This FlyGirl earned her flight instructor certificate after only 2 months training! I whole-heartedly agree with her last statement. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I become a pilot myself.
What made you interRohaise1ested in becoming a pilot?
When I was about 7, I was driving with my mom when she told me about her flying. She only had a few lessons, but even that thought had me hooked. I was born and raised until 13 in England, and started dreaming of flying there. I very quickly decided I wanted to join the military and fly for them. That developed into a passion for warbirds (ex – military planes), specifically I fell in love with World War 2 planes. I still can’t get enough of any of it, airshows are my bread and butter. I fell in love with all other types of flying as the years went by, and jumped at the chance to become a pilot as soon as possible.
You’re a flight instructor, you go to college full-time and work full-time (and have a boyfriend) — such an inspiration and terrific role model. What do you think makes you so motivated to achieve so much?
I’ve always been a high achiever, but what makes me want to go the extra mile for aviation is simply that I love it. Nothing makes me happier than flying itself, or going to an airshow, or achieving something new. I am also at the beginning of my career, and thinking about where I could go and what I can do is so exciting. I’ll talk a bit more about this in #6, but my biggest goal and motivation is to fly for the USAF, and I know its very competitive so I’m doing everything I can to be the best candidate I can. Also, my degree is in Aviation Science, so I get to do something I enjoy all day between teaching as a CFI and aviation classes.
Do you have any advice you’d like to share with teen girls who are interested in flying?
Biggest thing I’d say is just go for it. Too many people think that flying is just a crazy, unachievable dream. If you want it badly enough then there’s no reason to hold yourself back. And never let other people hold you back. I’ve had people even tell me that women couldn’t be pilots, after I already was one. On the flip side of that, find some people who do support you. I have some great role models who have helped me out. And, honestly, the majority of people I come across support me.
What was the hardest part of your flight training?
The hardest part for me was letting go sometimes. I always wanted to be doing something and on the go, but sometimes that just isn’t possible. I had problems with weather, maintenance, instructors, just everything. But staying motivated helped me through.
What does your family and boyfriend think of your flying?
My family is awesome. With the above story it would be hard for my mom noRohaise2t to be supportive. My dad is equally great. And my boyfriend is also a pilot! I met him when I started my college aviation program and he’s been there for me every step of the way. We are even flight instructors at the same company (at different bases though, so we don’t step on each others toes)!!
What would be the ultimate trip, job, or experience for you?
I have to say before anything else that I love my current job as a CFI, I feel so lucky that I get to bring the joy of aviation to other people. Also, I’m only 20 and still in college, I don’t think I could ask for a better job right now! However, my dream job is to fly for the USAF. I am actually applying for Air National Guard and USAF Reserve squadrons currently. My dream of flying for the military has kept me motivated for all these years, I’m so excited that my career doing that is almost within reach. My other passion, like I mentioned, is warbirds. I would be thrilled to fly a World War 2 fighter, or maybe even own my own warbird one day. I’ve had the privilege to fly a North America T6 Texan twice, and they were some of my favorite memories.
Please share one story about flying.
I don’t really have a story, but I can’t stress how happy flying makes me. I’ve had so many incredible memories because of it. My first solo, getting my private, flying a warbird for the first time to name a few. Earning my CFI ticket after only 2 months training is one of my proudest achievements. Flying in a T6 in formation with a P51, two B25s, a P39, two other T6s and a U3 in commemoration of Victory over Japan day was an experience of a lifetime. And every one of them brings a smile to my face whenever I think about them. I couldn’t recommend it to other ladies enough. As well as making me wonderfully happy it really has changed my whole perspective on life. The biggest change is I’m much more confident than I ever have been. Its hard to have self doubt when you’re in control of an airplane. Having that confidence has made every other aspect of my life better.

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