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Womanpower aloft: photo artist Kiki Kausch accompanied an all-female SWISS cockpit crew on a flight to New York.

To mark this year’s International Women’s Day on 8 March, the passengers on SWISS flight LX 22 from Geneva to New York were flown to JFK by an all-female crew. We sent photo artist and powerwoman Kiki Kausch along, too, to record in pictures the work of our female pilots. While she spends a lot of her time photographing the likes of Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake, Kiki Kausch’s passion for aviation is equally strong. “On the very first flight I ever took,” she says, “I remember wondering: how do those people up front behind that closed door – people we’re putting our blind faith in – tick? What do they even look like?”

“Female Cockpit”

Kiki has followed up these musings with her “Cockpit” series of images. “It’s funny, though,” she notes. “With my pictures of male pilots, even if they look like Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt, nobody ever doubts that I was on a real flight deck. But when the images are part of my ‘Female Cockpit’ series, I’m asked time and again if the pilots were models and the pictures were taken in a simulator.”

So is the pilot’s profession still considered a male preserve? Yes. Is that wrong? Yes. Is it unfair? Maybe. But it doesn’t unduly trouble either our SWISS women pilots or Kiki Kausch. “When we arrived back in sunny Geneva two days later,” she recalls, “I asked the two pilots if we could fly on to Africa. They’re clearly a lot more technically inclined and more talented in maths and physics than I will ever be, but we do have one thing in common: we totally love our jobs!”

Text: Valérie Ziegler Photos: Kiki Kausch