Korean Air has appointed two female pilots as Captain for the first time in the history of the airline.Pilots Soo-jin Shin and Soo-in Hong were officially appointed Captain on 3 November 2008, after passing the Captain Qualification Check, the final test to become an aircraft captain given by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, a department under Korea’s Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs.
To pass the final test, both Captain Shin and Captain Hong had to successfully complete five months of rigorous training under the Captain Upgrade Training Program, which included ground school and simulation training courses. Both pilots will take control of their first flight as captain of a Boeing 737 aircraft on 15 November 2008.
Korea has female captains for helicopters and air force combat pilots, but this is an historic first for Korea’s civil aviation industry.
Captain Shin started flying aircraft as a student pilot in Korean Air’s Jeju Flying School in 1995. She became a First Officer pilot, the first female in Korea to achieve that, in 1997 for MD82 type aircraft, and then First Officer pilot for Boeing 747-400 aircraft since October 2001. She has a total of 4,458 flight hours under her belt. Captain Soo-in Hong also began her career at the Jeju Flying School in 1995 and became an MD82 First Officer pilot in 1997. Flying as First Officer pilot for Boeing 777 type aircraft since 2001, she has accumulated 5,510 flight hours during her career so far.
To be eligible to become an airline Captain in Korea, a candidate must have more than 5 years of experience as First Officer with more than 4,000 flight hours and 350 landings.
In addition, the candidate should have sufficient professional certifications, including Airline Transport Pilot License, Radio Telephone Operators General Certificate, and ICAO English Proficiency Rating. As the final decision-maker responsible for the safety and lives of passengers and crew onboard, the candidate must be in adequate physical condition and have leadership and quick judgment qualities.
Another Captain-candidate, First Officer Yeon-jung Hwang for Airbus 330 aircraft, is also in training to become the third female Captain of Korean Air in November. Korean Air currently has five female pilots and one student pilot in training.