In celebration of NCVAM’s Women in Aviation this month, we spoke with Julie Hubner, a British pilot living here in Washington State. That is Julie in the picture standing next to her “Wedgewood blue and clotted cream modified Piper J3 Cub” (I love her description of the color!) Her aircraft is parked on the State Approved Runway at Copalis Beach, WA.
Julie Hubner is the flight instructor for NCVAM’s very own Brian White. I spoke to Julie and asked her a few questions, here is our conversation:
NCVAM: When did you learn to fly and in what plane?
Julie Hubner: 1980, Piper Tomahawk in England.
NCVAM: Tell us a bit about you:
Julie Hubner: My father served in the RAF as a Ground Engineer working with aircraft.
When I graduated from university, I joined Rolls Royce who design and manufacture Aero Engines (not Cars) I worked on Pegasus engine program, which was used to power the Harrier Jump Jet aircraft. I met my husband while I was working at Rolls Royce. He was running the US office that procured and advised the company on technical and support matters. At this stage of his career he was a US Civil Servant. However, prior to this job he had spent 22 years as a fighter and test pilot serving in the USMC.
All the above experiences exposed me to the world of aviation and were the major building blocks for my love of aircraft. I was privileged to be able to leave RR and spend time obtaining my license and gaining the necessary qualifications to become a flight instructor.
NCVAM: How long have you been a flight instructor?
Julie Hubner: For 25 years.
NCVAM: What would you say to other women considering learning to fly?
Julie: First, believe in yourself and believe that you will become a pilot. Flying is a passion not just a job or a hobby; it’s what makes pilots such an affinity group who will encourage any individual who desires to become part of what we consider to be a special collection of people. A couple of other things come to mind. You will be in the minority, as more men are involved in the world of aviation than women. Don’t let that dissuade you in pursuing your dreams. In fact, enjoy, be one more women who will help to balance the number of male and females pilots.
It is a significant financial outlay to gain all the qualifications you need, more so if your ambition is to become a commercial or military pilot. Be creative in finding ways to be around aviation and to fund your way through the training program. Reach out to pilot organizations of all types for help. Research what resources the military might have to offer. Joining the local ROTC program can often be of benefit. Visit aviation business/museums etc. at your local airport. Offer to help doing any task, even sweeping floors; better still get a part-time job. You will be spending time around pilots, who normally love to encourage and help someone in their goal of becoming a pilot.
NCVAM: What other women pilots do you admire?
Julie Hubner: I’m not sure I can say that I admire a particular woman. I admire all the women who have or had the passion and drive to make it through a challenging program and happily shine in a world where they can often be one of a few females. These women provide a wonderful example for other girls who have a goal of flying for fun, in the military or in the commercial world of Aviation.
NCVAM: What are your favorite planes in our collection?
Julie Hubner: Gosh that is a hard question to answer. Your aircraft are restored to such a beautiful condition, on the ground I salivate over all of them. I haven’t had the privilege (yet) to hop in and fly most of the aircraft. Ask me that question again if and when I have had the chance to spend time in the air with your aircraft. Then I will really get to know the character of the aircraft and know if I have fallen head over heels in love with any or all of them.
Thank you Julie, we wish you safe travels where ever your Piper J3 Cub wings carry you. And we thank you for your wisdom and experience as you continue instructing Brian in achieving his pilot’s license.