Optometrist who ‘fell in love with flying’ seeks to combine passions

Port Macquarie optometrist Candice Pearson is one step closer to fulfilling her dream of becoming a ‘flying optometrist’ after gaining her commercial pilot licence with the support of an $8,000 scholarship.

The Flight Training Scholarship from Airservices Australia and the Australian Women Pilots’ Association (AWPA) is designed to increase opportunity for more women to pursue a career in aviation by contributing to the cost of their flight training and removing what can be a financial barrier to becoming a pilot.

While Airservices contributed to Pearson’s scholarship, she completed her flight training with Eastern Air Services, a separate organisation to Airservices that provides an air navigation service (air traffic control) rather than pilot training.

Pearson, who has practised at Optical Superstore’s Port Macquarie store since 2017, graduated with a Bachelor of Vision Science and Master of Optometry from Queensland University of Technology in 2015.

“When I started training, I fell in love with flying and my goal now is to gain my instrument rating so I can begin work as a ‘flying optometrist’, providing eyecare services to remote and Indigenous communities,” Pearson said, in an announcement by Airservices Australia.

Person said gaining her commercial pilot licence is one of the biggest achievements of her life and hopes to eventually become a pilot for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

“But for now, I’m just excited to be able to combine my two passions, to help people and have fun flying across Australia while doing it,” she said.

Pearson also joined Early Career Optometrists NSW/ACT, otherwise known as ECONA, Regional Engagement Subcommittee in April this year.

“I find, working in a regional area myself, connection and engagement with colleagues and linking into face-to-face CPD can be challenging. Therefore, I would love to be able to help encourage online meetings to build a support network between regional members as an opportunity to share any challenges, as well as triumphs, that working in a regional area brings,” she told Optometry NSW/ACT.

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