Sinem Ulusoy, who has been working for 30 years, joined the air ambulance fleet of the Ministry of Health last year. The first female pilot of the fleet, Ulusoy comes to the assistance of patients, no matter where they are in Turkey, with the air ambulance, which has a capacity to carry four patients at the same time.
Her days can vary from transporting a natural disaster victim to a patient waiting for a transplant to helping with a new-born baby. Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA) before setting out with her team to pick up a patient in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Ulusoy said that when she leaves her house in the morning she never knows which patients she will transport. It is in these moments, of not knowing, that feels the most sentimental, she adds.
Ulusoy says she realized she wanted fulfill her dreams of being a pilot after receiving training in the U.S., "It was a good education. We also had an opportunity to receive a university diploma."
Delights of being a pilot
Ulusoy said there are some delightful aspects to her job as well, "There were many reasons that led me to become a pilot. Freedom, beautiful views and traveling are among them. It is a busy and wearing job but I highly recommend it to women. It makes me happy to see that the number of female pilots have increased recently. When I first started my job, there were not many pilots in Turkey. Now, the youth are willing [to enter the field]."
She mentioned that she was a flying instructor at a university in the U.S. for a while and that was good experience for her.
After her teaching experience Ulusoy worked in civil aviation for five years while her two children were young: "I worked the normal shift when my children were small. There was no intensity in terms of flights and I was mostly dealing with office tasks. It was enjoyable, as well. I started at the airlines after my children grew older. I served on passenger planes and cargo planes at various airlines. I came to Ankara at last. I am really happy to be here and to be in my home."
Not everything has been easy in her career but the pilot has always managed. She explained that there were moments when she had difficulties in doing her job while raising her two children, the chief pilot said, "I started working at the airlines when my younger child was two. There were hard times but you can manage to continue your career and raise your children at the same time."
Now, her elder son is a university graduate and her younger son is a sophomore. Ulusoy said that her sons attended many flights with her but they did not choose to become pilots. They want to be academicians like their father.
Before every flight Ulusoy says she makes sure to meet her boys, "We embrace and kiss each other before every flight. I think they did not choose this as a profession as they saw the difficulties. They saw there were days when I would come late, or leave at 3:00 a.m. for work or not be home at all for a few days," explains the pilot.
She has some emotional moments while piloting the ambulance plane but she manages to overcome them. "We try to focus on our flight even if we are demoralized. Especially babies, wounded soldiers, and the youth affect us deeply but we have to do a good job. It satisfies us spiritually. Piloting an air ambulance makes me really happy. It is a great thing to save someone's life. It makes me both emotional and satisfied. I love my job."
Highlighting other aspects of her job Ulusoy explains, "We have some control checks before our flights like reporting flights to the computer, examining weather forecasts and the places that we will go to. I do not understand how time passes at those times. We are actually lucky in this aspect, as well as time passes quickly. If I had a chance to choose again, I would still be a pilot. I recommend my profession to young girls."
Ulusoy said that the best part of her job is to witness aerial views of unique landscapes. "Snowy mountains, seas, lakes, forests, clouds are beautiful and make us happy. I have acrophobia. I cannot go out on high balconies. I am very anxious in open areas, however, planes do not disturb me as they are closed. I am only anxious in open areas. I know that many pilots have acrophobia. I am sure every fear can be overcome easily. The only thing that you should do is to stand up against it and be brave," she stated.
Ulusoy does sports in her spare time and is interested in walking, yoga and swimming. She added that her reasons for success in her job is related to having a good team. "Team spirit is really important in our job. We have to trust each other and have a good relationships. Most importantly, we have to trust our team in any negative or difficult situation."