Meet Zoey Williams, the First Black Female Pilot to Fly a Boeing 777 for Air Canada

As the daughter of a pilot, Zoey Williams spent her childhood traveling the world, living in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Doha, Qatar; Trinidad and Tobago; and London, England.

Her childhood travel experience led her to consider becoming a pilot, although she was initially hesitant. At Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, she stated that she chose engineering over airline piloting due to her dislike of the unpredictable timetables.

As a youngster, she took an introduction flight in a Cessna, which altered her life. According to Williams, her father, Orrett Williams, a Boeing 777 captain with Air Canada, offered the concept.

“My entire life, I had traveled commercially and on airlines as a passenger. But aboard that tiny plane, I was afraid. My knees shook, the ground was bumpy, and my palms were sweaty. “I went home and said, ‘I’m never going to do that again,'” she told Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

After that terrible encounter, she said she did some soul searching and chose to face her anxieties by seeking flying training.

“I completed my recreational pilot permit in high school, and the process of flying training took me from ‘terrified,’ to ‘this is alright,’ to’really loving it.’ That’s what shifted everything from aeronautical engineering to flight.”

Williams became a qualified flight instructor at 19 and later taught college-level aviation courses. She also gained flight experience through airborne instruction. In 2018, she received an A.S. in Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle and is currently pursuing a B.S. in the same field.

Currently, the 27-year-old holds four college degrees, three from Embry-Riddle. Prior to joining Air Canada, she worked in the aviation sector as a Beechcraft 1900 pilot, First Officer on the Embraer 175 for Sky Regional Airlines, and later with Air Transat.

While attending an MBA in Aviation degree, she also created a short-term rental business and worked odd jobs to “get my footing in the business world,” she explained.

As Air Canada’s first Black female pilot and Boeing 777 First Officer, she has been featured in videos by Air Canada and the Elevate Aviation 2023 Women of Inspire initiative. Wings Magazine recognized the Ontario, Canada native as one of the Top 20 Under 40.

As a Boeing 777 first officer with Air Canada, she frequently shares the flight deck with her father, Captain Williams. Williams is a singer, composer, and author of the book “Go Where You Belong,” which will be released in English and French to urge “little girls” to soar.

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