Kristy Fraser is a pilot for Wilderness Air Botswana. Born and raised in Brisbane, Australia, she comes from a family firmly entrenched in the aviation industry. With a father, uncle and a cousin all working as pilots, and a mother, aunt and sister working as flight attendants, Kristy was destined to follow in her family’s footsteps.
After completing her schooling at the young age of 16, Kristy enrolled at university to continue her studies. Initially she signed up for an engineering degree, but after completing her first year, she soon came to the realisation that aviation was where she wanted to be and enrolled for a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation at Griffith University in 2008.
It took her four years to complete her flying training as well as her degree. In 2011, she graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree as well as a Graduate Diploma in Flight Management and a Certificate IV in Aviation which included completing her Commercial Pilot Licence, Multi-engine Command Instrument Rating, and Air Transport Licence theory subjects.
With her qualifications attained, it was time for Kristy to decide where in the world she wanted to work. While she considered staying in Australia, her father suggested Africa as an option. The opportunity to experience Africa’s wildlife first-hand while working in her dream career made the decision an easy one and she moved to Botswana with the goal of becoming a bush pilot.
After she moved to Maun, Botswana, Wilderness Air invited her to test for the position of Line Pilot. Wilderness Air was always Kristy’s first choice of potential companies because of its impressive fleet, as well as the high quality of Wilderness Safaris’ camps. She was hired in January 2012, but work permit delays meant she was only able to start flying in October.
Since taking to the air, Kristy has enjoyed the different challenges that every day brings. “I can’t think of a better place in the world to fly these aircraft than Botswana, surrounded by the beauty of the Okavango Delta, the Kalahari Desert and the Makgadikgadi Pans”, says Kristy.
“Every morning when I start the engine, commence the takeoff and roll down the runway, I can’t help but smile because I am getting paid to do what I love and not everyone can say that about their job.”