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Switching to airplane mode: Belvedere woman earns pilot’s wings to honor late father

(Elliot Karlan photo / For The Ark)

When some people reach mid-life, they may decide to pursue a new hobby or purchase a fast sports car. Belvedere resident Mandy Boyd decided she wanted a whole new career.

In 2020, at age 42, Boyd earned her private pilot’s license and now flies commercially for San Francisco-based charter company AirSF.

She’s following in the footsteps of her late father, who received his license in his 50s, and has joined an exclusive group of women: Just over 5 percent of the world’s airline pilots are female, according to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots, and just 6 percent of non-student FAA-certified pilots are women.

“My friends said, ‘This is different — not a lot of people in their 40s go off and just switch careers and pursue something different and challenging and finish it and do it,’” Boyd says.

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