My name is Maria Kompothecras, I am 26 years old and a Flight Instructor at the L3Harris Sanford Flight Academy. I am about to celebrate my one-year anniversary working my first aviation job.
A few months before I graduated with a Finance Bachelors from the University of Central Florida, I had dreams and aspirations of taking on the world of finance. I had always been a little indecisive about my future, switching from a medical major to my graduating major. One day a friend asked what I was really passionate about and where did I see myself after graduation? I started to think back to my childhood when I lived with my family in Greece. We would vacation to the United States every summer. I thought of how excited I used to get being at airports, watching the airplanes take off and land, and how much I loved looking out of the airplane windows at the beautiful sky. By the end of that conversation, I had decided I was going to become a pilot. Of course, everyone thought I was crazy to make such a grand decision, but a few months later I was starting ground school for my Private Pilot License.
After looking at different schools in the area and attending the Pilot’s Expo at L3Harris. I decided to apply for the Professional Pilot Program. I started school June of 2018 and graduated February of 2020; I begun working as a Flight Instructor a month later. I enjoyed my experience as a student so much that I wanted to continue being part of this school and help other students. Your development as a pilot comes down to the quality of your instructors because they are the people you put your trust in and I still look up to my instructors because they helped make me into the pilot and instructor I am today. I hope to be the same inspiration to my students and to help them achieve their goals and dreams.
I am working towards my goal of becoming an airline pilot and I hope to join of one of the cadet programs offered at L3Harris very soon. 2020 was a tough year, especially in the aviation industry with pilots losing their jobs, but the passion we have for flying is something that no one can take away from us. I am fortunate enough to have a job and I know I have a home here at L3Harris until I land a job with an airline.
To all the aspiring female pilots out there; ignore the doubters. Concentrate on all the people that will look up to you and tell you that you are an inspiration. To be part of the 6% of female pilots - or the 0.002% of whom are pilots in the United States - is something to be proud of, and when another pilot asks ‘why didn’t you just become a flight attendant?’ ask them right back!