Visiting the cockpit as a child while flying transatlantic on Aer Lingus B747-100s, I was bitten young by the aviation bug. I fell in love with this majestic airplane and how it was able to defy gravity so gracefully. I was 7 years old watching a television news report when I discovered my dream job. There was coverage of an ongoing tragedy - a B737 aircraft had crashed upon takeoff into an icy river in Washington, DC. I was fascinated by this puzzle of broken pieces strewn in a river and how they were going to figure out what went wrong to cause this awful disaster. My father, a former air traffic controller and leisure pilot, explained the process and I set my sights on becoming an air accident investigator. The opportunity to discover the cause, bring peace to the families involved, and make fixes so aviation would be safer, were my focus for the hard work ahead.
Earning my degrees in aerospace engineering, airline operations, aviation safety and gaining a pilot’s license, I achieved my goal when offered a position with the US aircraft accident investigation agency, NTSB. During my 2 decade career, I specialised in flight recorders or “black boxes” and deciphered clues to help solve accidents, travelled the world, flew helicopters, jumpseated in the cockpit of all types of airliners, taught courses, and served as a representative to agencies such as ICAO. It was challenging, fun, exciting, adventurous and I was honoured and proud to do work that made flying safer and saved lives by preventing future accidents.
After an incredible professional journey, I recently decided to forge a new path and pursue some of the other amazing aspects of aviation. After taking a break to relax home in Ireland and do some international travelling (another favourite hobby), I intend to rejoin the industry and utilise my safety experience in a different aspect, perhaps through airline operations.
One of my greatest personal passions is introducing and mentoring people towards careers in aviation. Especially to encourage, support and improve the small percentage of females currently aware and involved in this enthralling field. I look forward to advancing this effort and meeting fellow aviators around the world interested in doing the same!