Innovating through uncertainty: Adva’s journey to becoming a pilot

A leap of faith can sometimes be the catalyst for an extraordinary career. 

Adva Amir, SkyWest Airlines First Officer, mentor, international speaker and co-founder and CEO of Direct, a company focused on creating time saving solutions for frequent business fliers, flew halfway across the world to make her dream of becoming a pilot a reality.  

For her efforts in supporting people in aviation and encouraging the next generation of aviators Adva has been recognized as an AeroTime Aviation Champion. AeroTime announced the creation of Aviation Champions as a new recognition program for aviation professionals celebrating their dedication to the sector and their ongoing efforts to support, promote, encourage, and inspire people across our industry.  

This video was recorded as part of our International Pilots’ Day activities and we are now delighted to publish it as part of our ongoing Aviation Champions initiative.

Innovating through uncertainty 

Alongside her piloting career, Adva co-founded Direct in July 2020.  

She also established Digitasa, a marketing agency that helped small businesses market their brands online during the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020. The non-profit company found huge success during its period of operation between March 2020 and May 2021.  

Having established two companies during a global health crisis, Adva states that she realized “in hard situations, you can still be creative and find a way to do what you like [and] help other people as well”.  

She also relates to the fact that it is never a suitable time to start a business, as the opportunity to launch Direct appeared right in the middle of a global pandemic.  

“I jumped right in! The people who know me well will witness that I rarely say no to opportunities, especially if it’s something I’m really passionate about like Direct,” says Adva. 

“With Direct I felt it was the right time for me, the right team and the right timing for our idea. We realized that there is a big gap in the private aviation industry, lack of technology, and efficiency in a market that is closer to travelers from high socio-economic classes only.  

“So, we decided to disrupt the market in order to make air commuting as casual as ride hailing, while providing maximum flexibility for our passengers and maximum profitability for the [private jet] operators. This was in the middle of the pandemic, it was almost two years ago, and we are still going and, until now, it was one of the best decisions I made to join direct and start this business.” 

Hard work and determination  

“During my journey to become an airline pilot, I was working hard. I was flying for a lot of hours, I was sleeping little but enough, and I kept studying 24/7. I left my home country, Israel, about six years ago to make my dream come true,” Adva continues.  

After completing her military service at the age of 22, Adva left Israel and flew 7,000 miles across the world to kick-start her pilot career in the United States.  

Adva says: “I didn’t know [where the] journey [would take me]. But I can tell you that I’ve always focused on working towards my dream while ignoring all those background noises.” 

Adva was determined to not only seize the opportunities in front of her, but to give back whenever she could and become an example of how “hard work and determination can lead you to great places”.  

“Throughout my short career, I was sharing my experience as a woman in a male-dominated industry in order to inspire other women to follow their dreams and join this amazing industry,” she says.  

Adva believes that it is necessary to not only to be determined to succeed, but to also surround ourselves with support to face obstacles during the initial stages of our chosen careers.  

“You always have to find a supportive environment,” she says. “The people that will support you, and your positive environment will help you leave all the negative energy behind. So, I was blessed to have a supportive family and friends who believed in me from the first moment.” 

Challenging stereotypes and inspiring the next generation 

Adva is passionate about challenging the gender stereotypes that still exist in the aviation industry. 

“I want to show women that it’s possible to make it to the cockpit no matter what, [and] that all this fear of a male-dominated industry, and the stereotype that women can’t be pilots and mums, is all just stereotype,” she says. 

Adva believes that men and women must work together in order to ensure the aviation industry is “positive and thriving”. 

“I want to show the world that women are no different from men and that, together, thanks to the natural differences between males and females, both genders can create the safest cockpits in the world,” says Adva. 

For Adva, being a pilot is “the best job in the world”. 

“It is [about] freedom and, when I go to work, I rarely feel that I am going to work,” she enthuses. “As a pilot, you get to travel to amazing destinations, you work with so many talented people, you are part of a dynamic and vibrant workplace, and you fly incredible machines.”  

Adva also believes that one of the major advantages of being a pilot is flexibility and the ability to remain in control of your own schedule while also being able to combine the role with other interests. 

“You can open a business, you can create projects, you can enjoy your hobbies, you can invest time in people you love, and this is very important.” 

What advice does Adva have for young aviators hoping for a career in aviation? 

“If there is one tip, I can give to all the aspiring aviators and young girls out there it is to believe in yourself. Believe in yourself fully and I guarantee you will be able to overcome any challenge with a positive attitude and determination,” she says.   

“Eventually you will become unstoppable and [you] will be able to achieve all your goals. [You] just need a positive attitude.” 

Adva Amir, AeroTime Aviation Champion