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First officer at 20 years old

Ninni with a crew on a SAS flight
Ninni with a crew on a SAS flight

Íslensk útgáfa

Ninni Thisner, a talented 27-year-old pilot from Sweden, made the decision to travel all the way to Iceland for her Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL), and says she’s never looked back. After graduation from the Aviation Academy, she was employed as a first officer with Ryan Air, at the mere age of 20.

 Her career choice wasn’t clear from the get-go. During her high school career, she knew she wanted to do something different, outside of the mainstream. Once she gave flying a try the choice was clear and the path was set. She finished her single engine commercial pilot licence along side her high school nature science studies.

Why learn to fly in Iceland?

With a myriad of flight schools in Sweden why did this Swedish horse enthusiast and nature lover decide to travel all the way to Iceland to pursue her dream of becoming a pilot? “The country seemed fascinating and stunning, it was cheaper to learn to fly in Iceland and it seemed hassle-free to pick the module courses I needed.” Ninni says “I had a really good time and met fantastic people which I had a lot of fun together with. Living next to the school was great and the arrangement of the courses fitted me perfectly.” She and her schoolmates keep in touch and spontaneously meet regularly in their flights around Europe.

A memorable change of plans

Ninni says that despite having plenty of fantastic memories from her piloting career one stands out and she recalls it regularly. “In 2017 I was flying for SAS, B737 from Stockholm Arlanda to Nice and the weather changed drastically, and the airport closed, and we diverted, our alternates had just as bad weather, so we picked one we did not plan for but had descent weather and was within range. Once on approach into Genoa we suddenly had a massive amount of tailwind and deteriorating cloud cover, so we were not able to land and diverted again, we landed without any further problems in Turin. It taught me the importance of planning and thinking one step further and if you can’t use plan B, what is your plan C?”

Inspiring leaders in the cockpit

Ninni gets inspiration from the captains and instructors she meets and flies with. “I take with me and try to learn from their characteristics that make them good leaders and instructors. They inspire me in the way they lead others and leave their colleagues and students with a good feeling and confidence after flight lessons, sim sessions or normal flights. I want to learn from them and become a just as good leader and colleague.”

The future in aviation

After two years with Ryan Air Ninni started work for SAS as a first officer, where she’s been ever since with slight pandemic related turbulence over the past year. Ninni says she has never regretted her career choice despite the unpredictable nature of the aviation business and wouldn’t change her profession for the world. Ninni has her eyes set on becoming a captain within the next five years but says she’d be happy with any pilot job with good terms.