First Filipina Pilot Makes History

April 25, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings (5 minutes)
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. captain (v.) [kap-tuhn] – to lead or head something, usually a ship,  aircraft, or a spacecraft
Example: The young general captains the army.    

2. on a whim (idiom) [on uh hwim] – to do something without careful planning or thinking
Example: Traveling on a whim excites me.

3. privilege (n.) [priv-uh-lij] – a special right or opportunity given to a person because of his or her position or status in life
Example: Wealthy people usually enjoy more privileges than others.

4. meticulous (adj.) [muh-tik-yuh-luhs] – careful with details
Example: Surgeons need to be meticulous during an operation.  

Article (10 minutes)
Read the text below.
The first female pilot in the Philippines says that flying planes is the best job in the world.

At 41, Brooke Castillo captains a mid-size commercial plane for a large airline company. She became the first woman in the Philippines to fly a commercial plane back in 1996, opening opportunities for other female pilots to follow her example.

Ironically, Brooke never dreamed of flying planes. Growing up in a wealthy family, she trained to be a classical pianist and got involved in various sports. When she was young, she represented the Philippines in bowling and basketball tournaments and won for her country a silver medal in a Southeast Asian Taekwondo match as an adult.

After graduating with a business degree from the University of the Philippines, Brooke took a pilot scholarship test on a whim when she accompanied a friend who planned to take the test. She passed the test, but her friend did not. Brooke accepted the challenge and got the training she needed to become a pilot.

She believes her background in music and sports, more than the college subjects she took, helped her succeed in pilot school.  She says hard work, not her wealth and privilege, determined her success as a pilot.

She also says that when airline chiefs choose the captain of a plane, the same standards should be used for male and female pilots because people’s lives are on the line. However, she claims that women might have an advantage over men because they tend to be meticulous and good at multi-tasking, two skills required of a pilot.

Today, aside from flying planes, Brooke also trains young pilots and she intends to continue doing so until she turns 65. During her free time, she continues to play classical piano and is a rock band manager. She also dreams of having a family of her own someday but with her busy schedule, she says this is the last thing on her mind right now.  

Viewpoint Discussion (7-8 minutes)
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         What makes a good pilot?
·         Why do you think there are more male pilots than female ones?

Discussion B

·         Why are some jobs only for men?
·         What jobs are only for women?

April 25, 2011