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Mom and daughter bond over shared passion for travel

By Carley Edwards

Champaign residents, Elizabeth Dickerson and her daughter, Claire, both share a love for the aviation industry.

Inspired by her mom's rewarding career, Claire is chasing her dreams to become a pilot. However, with only eight percent of female commercial airline pilots she has overcome some challenges of the gender gap.

“You just never really see a lot of women in the cockpit. It's kind of those things that just make you second guess yourself when you feel like you're the only one out there,” says Claire Dickerson.

She says that being involved in this industry was always at the back of her mind due to her mom's influence.

“She would come back from all of these really cool trips with all these different goodies from around the world," says Claire.

Their family would jet off to cities all around the world including Paris, Rome, and Hawaii. As a frequent flyer, Claire was determined to not lose her flight benefits.

Claire said, “I remember asking my mom once, can I be a pilot? Is this something I could do?”

“It's just kind of been a man's world up in the cockpit that, you know, there are more females coming on board now, and we're very excited about that,” said her mom, Elizabeth Dickerson.

Elizabeth says her daughter will have a beautiful career ahead of her and that she is equipped to handle anything thrown her way.

Claire has her private pilots license and is currently undergoing more training in Tampa Bay, Florida.

She hopes to inspire the next generation of female pilots.

“Thinking back to like early conversations like that with my mom to do is what really drives me, inspires me to want to be in the cockpit someday and be able to talk to girls when they come in and hand them the little wings and say, 'you could be up here someday,' ” says Claire.

She expressed that professional groups like Women In Aviation have been incredibly helpful to her when navigating this path.

From one generation to the next, The Dickerson women have followed their dreams in the sky.

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