Kate McWilliams is only 26-year old and the youngest ever commercial female airline captain, according to her bosses at easyJet. Kate McWilliams and Luke Elsworth are typical 26- and 19-year olds, aside from the fact that they have just piloted a commercial airplane from London to Malta. Their employer, the British carrier easyjet, believes that McWilliams has become the world's youngest commercial airline captain with a co-pilot Elsworth who also one of the country's youngest co-pilots.
Kate McWilliams said she is asked about her age by cabin crew and passengers all the time. Most people are “pleasantly surprised and impressed” when she tells them. Kate began flying in the air cadets when she was 13 years old, but admitted to the Press Association that she never thought she could become a commercial pilot. McWilliams joined the easyJet team as a first officer when she was 21, and she's had her career in mind since the age of four after attending her first air show.
At 19, she flew for the first time after joining the Royal Air Force Air Cadets. She's currently based at London’s Gatwick Airport. Recently she took up the rank of captain after passing the airline's command course.
"Personally I don't think my age matters," she said. "I've been through the same training and passed the same command course as every other captain so I've proven myself capable regardless of my age.
Around 5% of commercial pilots are women. Last year easyJet announced a plan to increase its number of female entrants to 12%.
Kate is originally from Carlisle, but now lives in Surrey so that she can be near to Gatwick Airport. From there she flies Airbus A319 and A320 planes to locations across the world, including Iceland, Israel and Morocco.