Quarter 1 Highlights: Xochitl Guerrero, PEA’s Youngest Female Instructor

The aviation industry has steadily seen an increase of females within all its different sectors, however in comparison, females only represent 6% of pilots. Phoenix East Aviation continues to successfully train pilots and proudly has one of the highest percentages of female pilots and instructors. Meet 20 year old Xochitl Guerrero. She is PEA’s first female instructor from Mexico, and after an impressive training journey, with a little unique turbulence along the way, she is now teaching and helping others reach their pilot goals. This is her story.

Originally from San Luis Potosí, Mexico City, Xochitl Guerrero is the first pilot ever in her family. “I don’t have any background in aviation which is rather complicated because when I originally started at PEA I was meeting people who grew up wanting to become pilots, or who came from a family with a passion for aviation… not me though”, said Guerrero, who wanted to become a vet or eventually go to school to study criminology. It is pretty evident that she is not currently saving animal lives, or solving crimes, so how did she end up flying in Florida’s blue skies? At the age of 15, Guerrero went on a trip to Israel with her parents. It was the first time she was ever on what she described as a ‘big plane’. When she stepped foot onto that plane, it was love at first sight. While recalling this memory, “I instantly found myself interested in what the pilots were doing as we were finding our seats, and I really wanted to see what all the buttons looked like in the cockpit”, said Guerrero. She was invited into the cockpit when she expressed interest to the pilot, and was mesmerized by what she saw. “I could feel at that moment that I was meant to be a pilot.” After her family trip, she returned home and began researching flight schools. Guerrero could not shake the feeling of wanting to start flight training and becoming a pilot. She began extensively researching flight schools in the United States because of how difficult it would be for her to pursue this career in Mexico as a woman. After hours of research, Phoenix East Aviation is the school she landed on, and what solidified her choice was, “the sense I got while scrolling through the school’s social media. It felt like one big family and that it was international”, said Guerrero. PEA proudly represents 65 different countries, and that was important to Guerrero because coming to the United States at a young age, and being away from her family for the first time, she did not want to feel left out coming from a different country.

Xochitl Guerrero Enrollment Photo in Diamond DA42In 2020 her dreams took flight. At 17 years old, she joined Phoenix East Aviation. In a matter of two years, Guerrero successfully completed all her flight training starting from Private Pilot License to becoming one of PEA’s youngest CFI at 19 years old. To say this is not a massive accomplishment would be an understatement, however Guerrero opened up about some of the challenges she faced during her training and how she overcame them. As an international student, the language barrier for Guerrero is what she was most nervous about when she first began her training. She grew up speaking English at home, however only in basic conversations. It was not used to learn about the aviation industry, something that was a foreign concept to her, “I was learning brand new information in a language that was also relatively new to me”, said Guerrero. This is when she realized how much more challenging flight training would be than she originally thought, but persevered and took steps to overcome this challenge, “I used to record ground school class and go home and listen to what I recorded”, said Guerrero. Phoenix East Aviation offers a free tutoring program that many students utilize as an additional resource if they find themselves struggling in any aspect of their training. For Guerrero, when she initially began her training she had the support of her Admission Officer and PEA’s Flight Training Department which are also additional resources for new students, “the whole environment and atmosphere at PEA is really welcoming. With the help of the tutoring program and other individuals, students and instructors are always willing to help each other out,” Guerrero said. As a current instructor, Guerrero credits the challenges she overcame when it comes to her own teaching style. Every individual who walks through the door has a common goal of becoming a pilot, but not everyone learns the same way. For Guerrero she keeps this in mind while teaching, “if I am working with a student who is struggling a bit, I reassure them that what they are experiencing is normal because I remember where I came from,” Guerrero said. For many students becoming a pilot is only a dream that is almost unattainable because they are not sure where to begin, especially for an international student like Guerrero was, “I don’t want somebody to give up on their dreams of being a pilot because of a language barrier struggle, like I almost did,” Guerrero said.

Luckily she did not give up and currently holds the following licenses and ratings: PPL, Instrument Rating, CPL (both single and multi engine), and her instructor ratings (CFI and CFII), instructing at PEA for the last year while also being a stage checker, making Guerrero PEA’s youngest CFI.

The memorable experiences pilots at Phoenix East Aviation make stick with them throughout their training and beyond. The most memorable moment of Guerrero’s training occurred when obtaining her Private Pilot License and working on “touch and go’s” in Ormond Beach, during her first flight lesson with her instructor. While recalling her first flight with a smile on her face, “after a few times, my instructor let go of the controls and I landed the plane. It was so surreal and gave me such a confidence boost,” Guerrero said. Looking back, this is the moment she felt like she could actually see herself becoming a pilot and is incredibly glad that she did not allow the fear and nervousness she had about learning aviation in a language that was not her native, get in the way of her dreams because now she has this memory to cherish forever.

Xochitl with other female pilots on KFIN ramp in front of Cessna 172Phoenix East Aviation will always be a vital part of Guerrero’s life because she was able to turn her dreams into a reality and would like to see other female pilots join the aviation industry and do the same thing, “I know we, PEA has one of the highest population of female pilots, but I think it would be even cooler to see the population increase… especially female pilots from Mexico,” Guerrero said. When asked why she thinks there is a slim population of Mexican female pilots, she correlates the idea to the fact that Mexico has a very “macho” mentality and oftentimes follows the stereotype that being a pilot is a man’s job, “there is this idea that there are specific roles for each gender,” Guerrero said. Although she took it upon herself to do her own flight school research, Guerrero recognizes that others may not have the same opportunities. Therefore she would like to see the proper resources implemented for others from Mexico who want to become a pilot. For any potential student from Mexico or anywhere else in the world reading this newsletter, Guerrero wants to share that it is important not to compare yourself, “as I went through my own training, I compared myself way too much to where others were in there training which made me question whether I made the right decision of becoming a pilot,” Guerrero said. It is important to remember that although everyone’s end goal is to become a pilot, everyone’s journey to get there is different and she wants everyone to remember that.

Xochitl Guerrero has since accumulated 1,150 hours of flying experience and counting during her time at Phoenix East Aviation. Her end goal is to work for the airlines, and when asked what her dream airline would be, “Emirates, for sure,” Guerrero said. Prior to getting there, she plans to complete her Bachelor’s Degree of Aeronautics at Embry Riddle after her time at PEA concludes. Xochitl Guerrero has overcome struggles in which she initially believed would cause her to change career paths and continues to thrive at Phoenix East Aviation as their first female pilot from Mexico.

We wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors!

Are you interested in learning more about the visa and/or our admissions process to start your flight training, and become the pilot you have always dreamed of? Our Admissions Officers are here to help you with any questions you may have. Please email us at to get in touch with us.

Xochitl side profile shot of flying Diamond DA42 in sunset Xochitl side profile shot of flying Diamond DA42 in sunset
Xochitl in the middle of two friends in front of a Cessna 172 on KFIN ramp Xochitl in the middle of two friends in front of a Cessna 172 on KFIN ramp
Xochitl Guerrero, Father, and mother self Xochitl Guerrero, Father, and mother self
Xochitl Guerrero on the right hand side with CFI Gold Stripes on, putting Instrument Foggles on one of her students Xochitl Guerrero on the right hand side with CFI Gold Stripes on, putting Instrument Foggles on one of her students
Xochitl Guerrero New Stanz IP photo with Suresh Xochitl Guerrero New Stanz IP photo with Suresh
Xochitl and friend female pilot clapping in front of Cessna 172 on KFIN ramp Xochitl and friend female pilot clapping in front of Cessna 172 on KFIN ramp

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