Silva Mcleod Island Girl to Airline Pilot Book Launch

Island Girl to Airline Pilot

A story of love, sacrifice and taking flight by Silva Mcleod.

This is the life story of Silva Mcleod, the first Tongan woman to become an airline pilot. She’s still one of only a handful. Told by Silva with frankness and wit, it’s quite a story.

Silva takes us on a journey of cultural change from her beginnings as a poor island girl to her marriage to an Australian. The challenges of pursuing a flying career and its impact on her family are set against the backdrop of the love story of her life with her husband and his battle with cancer.

Aviation/Aerospace Australia members can access 20% off Island Girl to Airline Pilot using the code wia at the checkout. To order a copy today, CLICK HERE.

Silva was a Tongan girl from a small island with little hope of anything beyond getting married and having babies. Her dreams of becoming an airline pilot seemed just that — dreams — until Ken McLeod came into Silva's life. He was an Australian hired to build a hospital on her island of Vava'u. She started dating him despite frowns from her family. After a whirlwind romance, they got married in a traditional Tongan ceremony before moving to Australia. Silva faced challenges in Australia as a woman of colour. Then came the biggest challenge of all — Ken was diagnosed with cancer. He said to Silva, 'Do you still want to fly? Life is too short, if you have a dream, go for it.'

There were many barriers to succeeding in such a male-dominated field, but Silva refused to give in. She became the first Tongan female airline pilot and worked for the Royal Flying Doctor Service amongst other small airlines then Virgin International, flying B777s around the world. With every new height Silva reached in her career, Ken's struggle with cancer continued. Despite the hardships, Silva is sure she would dare to do it all over again. Dare to love a white man and dare to pursue her dream to go from island girl to airline pilot.

Silva is a grandmother of seven and wrote Island Girl to Airline Pilot to inspire a new generation to dare to dream, no matter the odds.

Island Girl to Airline Pilot is published by Exisle Publishing. To view Silva's next event, CLICK HERE.