It‘s been ten years since Andreea Litescu first started working as a pilot for the airline known for its distinctive pink and purple livery. But how did the Captain of Airbus A320 jet at Wizz Air begin her career in aviation?
“It all started when I was 17-years-old, on a small airfield close to my hometown where I saw an aerobatic aircraft taking off. That was the exact moment I fell in love with aviation. Nineteen years later and here I am still in love with aviation and really grateful for every single chance I have been offered and I have created by myself.
“It was my father that took me on that airfield back then to help him organize a European Championship for radio-controlled helicopters. However, nobody in my family had been in the aviation industry before.“
She continues: “Soon after falling in love with flying I decided to apply for flying in the local aeroclub on a small aircraft, IAR 46, and later on I flew Zlin. I still remember waking up every summer and running to the airfield and helping with cleaning the runway, preparing and taking out all the gliders and airplanes while waiting for my turn to enjoy the freedom of flying.”
At the age of 18, Andreea joined the Aerospace Engineering University in Bucharest, Romania where she was admitted in the first Civil Helicopter Class at the Romanian Aviation Academy. The pilot says that it was a fascinating experience as she got the chance to fly state of the art helicopters, including Eurocopter 120 and Eurocopter 155 for three years.
“After obtaining my Commercial Pilot License for helicopters I started my conversion on airplanes and in a few months I got my Airline Transport Pilot License,” she recalls.
A few years later, Andreea was able to further her aviation dream when she started her first Type Rating on Boeing 737 aircraft. “For two and a half years I logged around 1,800 hours on Boeing 737 flying both Classic and NG.
“It was early March 2011 when I received a phone call telling me I was given the great opportunity to join Wizz Air. So, here I was a few days later running in Amsterdam airport between terminals trying to catch my connection towards Toulouse where I started my Type Rating on Airbus 320/321.” Andreea smiles.“Ten years later I am proudly wearing my pink uniform and flying around Europe with our beloved passengers.”
2013 was a year to remember. After several months of evaluations, the aviation lover was upgraded to a Captain and did her first flight on the left seat inbound at a foggy Luton Airport. “That flight will always stay in my heart.“
She adds: “One year later I became Base Captain for Bucharest Otopeni Base taking care of 120 pilots and all the administrative part of the base. It was a great chance to learn more about aviation management and to evolve into the professional I am today.”
Andreea remained the Base Captain of the airline until one week before she gave birth to her daughter, Sara. Then, two years later, as the airline supported families, she came back from maternity leave and was offered a return to the skies on a part-time contract giving her the ability to balance her new life as a mother with flying duties.
“Last year I was appointed as a member of Wizz People Council where our aim is to represent the voice of our community and to make it heard by our leadership team. It’s been an amazing journey in aviation for me until now and I am still waiting for more opportunities and goals to reach.”
But there is more to Andreea than just aviation. Since childhood, she has been involved in many activities, including martial arts and mountain climbing. “I climbed the Mont Blanc summit (4,808 m) and I was sure I would continue my career in mountaineering….However, life had another plan for me up in the air at 11,000 meters where it feels like home.”
The ongoing pandemic had a significant impact on her personal life. On the positive side, the pandemic allowed the pilot to spend more time with her family. “We stayed at home more which was a little bit interesting for a family with two airline pilots. However, now we are resuming our busy rosters more and more. Plus, our daughter is always very happy to spend all the time with us.”
She adds: “I am a very optimistic person and I like to believe the biggest asset I have is that I have surrounded myself with family, friends and colleagues that are always by my side.“ Andreea says the current global circumstances had also brought out the creative side of her personality. Having started to write an aviation book dedicated to little readers, she expects to release it soon.
“My aviation book for children will come out in the next few months and I am really happy I had the courage to follow my heart and tell my story which I hope will inspire little ones to shoot for the stars.”
The Captain has no doubts that the aviation industry will rebound from the COVID-19 virus, and believes that the industry will become even stronger post-pandemic. “The aviation industry is going through unprecedented times. However, us pilots are trained to solve the most complicated situations so I am sure we will come out of this stronger and more united.
“Aviation will definitely recover, people love and need to travel and it is essential to be there for them. If I missed one thing during these difficult times, it was travelling around the world, discovering new places and new cultures. Creating memories while jumping on an airplane that will take you wherever you dream is priceless and yes, we will come back stronger than ever.“