It’s an incredible feeling to see your child follow in your footsteps and pursue the same career as you. But having your child as a coworker takes it to a whole new level!
Anaseini “Kamelia” (Lino) Zarka made history by becoming the first Tongan female airline captain. Zarka began working as a flight attendant for Hawaiian Airlines in 1992.
She recalls the precise moment she decided to become a pilot. The captain called back to them [while flying over Tonga] and said that anyone who wants to sit up front. [in the cockpit] is welcome. she did so and sat behind the first officer, and the plane rolled down the runway. she told herself, ‘Hey, I can do this. When she returned home from that trip, Kamelia asked her husband what he thought about her becoming a pilot. Her husband advised her to go for it.
Zarka then went on to get her private pilot license after taking lessons at a local flight school. She then took a leave of absence to pursue her instrument, commercial, multi-engine, and flight instructor ratings.
Zarka spent seven years working for various regional carriers and flight instructing. In her spare time, she accumulated the hours required to pilot commercial jets.
On her 38th birthday in 1999, she received a call from Hawaiian Airlines’ assistant chief pilot. The calls inquired if she would in become a commercial pilot. She, of course, said yes and was immediately hired as a flight engineer on the DC-10.
She was finally promoted to the first officer for commercial jets after years of hard work.
Her two daughters became interested in flying after accompanying their mother on flights. She inspired them that it was a dream that was realizable. Maria Zarka, her older daughter, is now accompanying her mother as a colleague!
Captain Kamelia Zarka, accompanied by her daughter First Officer Maria Zarka, flew over the Pacific on August 31. The flight was Hawaiian Airlines’ first mother-daughter flight. it was such a history in its own right.
Both women took a Boeing 717 flight from nearby islands.
Boeing 717 hired Maria Zarka as a first officer earlier this year. According to Hawaiian Airlines, her mother has been a Boeing 717 captain for some time.
Both women are now inspiring other women to follow in their footsteps and fulfill their dreams of becoming aviators.
What an incredible accomplishment. And how wonderful it is to be able to fly an airplane with your own daughter!
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