DE  / EN

PILOT – AUTHOR – TRAINER – KEYNOTE SPEAKER

Cordula Pflaum

Welcome aboard my aviation world!

I believe in connecting with people through personal experiences and stories, serving as a role model. I shed light on what it means to work in psychologically safe teams and how mental health can be strengthened. My commitment extends beyond the skies because I believe in the development of teams and individuals to create safer work environments.

Learning through personal growth and encounters is my philosophy.

DE  / EN

PILOT – AUTHOR – TRAINER – KEYNOTE SPEAKER

Cordula Pflaum

Welcome aboard my aviation world!

I believe in connecting with people through personal experiences and stories, serving as a role model. I shed light on what it means to work in psychologically safe teams and how mental health can be strengthened. My commitment extends beyond the skies because I believe in the development of teams and individuals to create safer work environments.

Learning through personal growth and encounters is my philosophy.

Clear in purpose, gentle with people.“

My Story

„For over three decades …“

have I been immersed in the fascinating world of aviation, where I live out my passion as a pilot. As a Training Captain for Airbus A330/A340/A350, my goal is not only to transport people from one place to another but also to demonstrate globally, across various industries, how psychologically safe teams can be cultivated through training, workshops, and keynotes.

Overcoming Challenges

The concepts of safety culture and a well-established error culture are central to me. How can these concepts contribute to a safe working environment? As a leader constantly dealing with changing teams in the daily flight operations, I describe how I tackle these challenges.

Strengthening Mental Health

In close collaboration with renowned institutions such as the “Klinikum rechts der Isar”, “TUM”, and the “AO Foundation”, I have developed these skills with the Human Factors Academy and transferred them to the medical world through Human Factors Competency Trainings. How can companies proactively take measures to strengthen the mental health of their employees? This question deeply concerns me. Through my long-standing work in Peer Support, especially in the Critical Incident Stress Management of the Mayday Foundation, I demonstrate how processing critical incidents in professional life can increase resilience. My support of Corinna Cremer and the skyminds Foundation which is dedicated to safeguarding and fortifying mental health within organizations has become very important to me.

Sharing Experiences

I am currently working with great enthusiasm on a book that encompasses all these and many more topics .The release is planned for spring 2024. It is my vision to share my knowledge and experiences to contribute to a safer and healthier working world. I am also now a member of the Premium Leaders Club Germany as a speaker and pass on my experiences there. Furthermore, I am now part of the expert team at C-Lab. C-Lab supports people and organizations in navigating the modern working world by helping with the evidence-based further development or realignment of modern corporate culture and innovative leadership understanding.

MY REFERENCES

Strong Partnerships

Respect

Respect for every individual is at the forefront of every interaction

Responsibility

I take responsibility for everything I do and measure myself by it

Trust

Trust is the foundation of good collaboration

Humility

Approaching the forces of nature and humanity with humility and mindfulness

MY JOURNEY

The world is my home

#1 GRADUATION FROM FLIGHT SCHOOL

#2 CAPTAIN / TO THE LEFT SEAT

#3 WORLDWIDE HUMAN FACTORS TRAINER

#4 TRAINING CAPTAIN

#5 PEER SUPPORT / MENTAL HEALTH

#6 Author

For over 29 years, I have been passionately and wholeheartedly involved in the aviation industry. My exciting journey began in 1994 as a commercial pilot with Lufthansa Passage Airlines. Throughout my 29-year career, I have not only gained extensive experience as a pilot but have also led a team of up to 16 professionals as a commander for 18 years.

However, my expertise extends beyond the cockpit. At Lufthansa Aviation Training GmbH, I have served as an assessor, developer, and trainer in recent years. In this role, I have conducted training and coaching in various sectors, both internally and externally. Additionally, I have developed and implemented HR projects to promote the development of professionals.

A highlight of my career was my involvement in the project team for the introduction of the A350 at Lufthansa. As a project team member, I contributed to the development and implementation of a training plan that ensured a smooth introduction in February 2017.

My expertise also extends beyond the aviation industry. As the author of a book to be published by Penguin Random House in March 2024, I share my experiences and insights.

Throughout my career, I have delved deeply into human factors. As the initiator and host of the LH Human Factors Action Group, I have created platforms to promote safety and a culture of learning from mistakes. The establishment of websites, podcasts, and conferences reflects my commitment. As the responsible CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) officer for the cockpit at Lufthansa and as a member of the Peer Support Foundation Mayday since 2002, I actively support the psychological well-being of colleagues.

I believe in the development of teams and individuals. Through workshops and training in safety culture, error culture, Crew Resource Management, and more, I contribute to forming psychologically safe teams. My international collaboration with various airlines demonstrates my versatility and willingness to learn and share across industries.

With a clear focus on development and safety promotion, I use my expertise to help people and organizations unleash their potential and create safer working environments.

Podcasts & Shows

Hear more from me

interviews

Live and in color

BR Fernsehen – Wir in Bayern

Our Guest is pilot and author Cordula Pflaum

ARD – nachtlinie

Cordula Pflaum has been taking off regulary for more than three decades.

MDR um 4: Gäste zum Kaffee

Cordula Pflaum always wanted to reach great heights and the Franconian woman has achieved this impressively.

BR Abendschau

Flugkapitänin Cordula Pflaum

Der Faktor Mensch

LAT Talk mit Kapitänin Cordula Pflaum und First Officer Leila Belaasri

rbb – Talk aus Berlin

Cordula Pflaum -Ausbildungspilotin

contact

Curious for more?

If you have expressed interest in exchanging ideas with me, you can schedule a meeting with me through Calendly.

Contact information

NEWS: MY NEW BOOK (AVAILABLE FROM MARCH 2024)

Good day, it’s your captain speaking!

Every year, billions of people use airplanes. But how much do we really know about aviation? Cordula Pflaum offers an exciting behind-the-scenes look at a universe that most only scratch the surface of. Still, few suspect that a woman can fly a passenger aircraft. Sometimes, Cordula Pflaum even hears a startled murmur from the cabin when she introduces herself as the flight’s captain during an announcement. After her training, she was the 20th pilot at Lufthansa and the first training pilot for long-haul flights. Pflaum openly addresses concerns and prejudices, debunks outdated clichés, and places the person behind the controls at the center of attention.

NEWS: MY NEW BOOK (AVAILABLE FROM MARCH 2024)

Good day, it’s your captain speaking!

Every year, billions of people use airplanes. But how much do we really know about aviation? Cordula Pflaum offers an exciting behind-the-scenes look at a universe that most only scratch the surface of. Still, few suspect that a woman can fly a passenger aircraft. Sometimes, Cordula Pflaum even hears a startled murmur from the cabin when she introduces herself as the flight’s captain during an announcement. After her training, she was the 20th pilot at Lufthansa and the first training pilot for long-haul flights. Pflaum openly addresses concerns and prejudices, debunks outdated clichés, and places the person behind the controls at the center of attention.

CURRENT PROJECTS

Always on the move

June 27, 2024 / 9am – 1pm:

Public panel on psychological safety at the LMU in Munich

July 22, 2024 / 9:05am – 10am:

Recording of Deutschlandfunk Kultur for the programn „Im Gespräch“ Live from the Berliner Funkhaus in Schöneberg

July 23, 2024:

Recording at the „SWR 1 Leute“ in the Mainz studio

July 19, 2024 / 7:30pm – 8pm:

Live guest at Buten & Binnen TV at Radio Bremen

My media presence

Strong partners

Lectures

Cordula Pflaum combines the precision of the flight cockpit with the sensitivity of human leadership. As captain of the Airbus A350 and A380, she combines her expertise in aviation with the intricacies of team leadership. She shares her passionate approach to psychological safety in teams in rousing keynotes, practical workshops and targeted training sessions. With valuable experience gained in the training and development of colleagues, she brings Crew resource management to the business world to strengthen interpersonal skills and transform leadership cultures. Her work with international airlines and medical facilities has made Cordula Pflaum a sought-after expert who knows that respectful, trusting interaction at eye level is the basis for any strong leadership.

Interview with Cordula Pflaum I FAZ (12/31/2023)

„More pressure,

more mistakes“

Cordula Pflaum is a seasoned pilot who also trains teams in psychological safety. In this conversation, she shares her extensive experiences, not only in the cockpit but also as a facilitator for team dynamics. Delving into the challenges of hierarchies, the significance of trust, and the cultivation of a supportive leadership culture, she provides insightful perspectives for various contexts.

Interview with Cordula Pflaum

FAZ (12/31/2023)

„More pressure,

more mistakes“

Cordula Pflaum is a seasoned pilot who also trains teams in psychological safety. In this conversation, she shares her extensive experiences, not only in the cockpit but also as a facilitator for team dynamics. Delving into the challenges of hierarchies, the significance of trust, and the cultivation of a supportive leadership culture, she provides insightful perspectives for various contexts.

Interview with Cordula Pflaum I Julia Meyn for the

Goldman Verlag (January 2024)

„A look behind the scenes“

16 Questions for the Pilot, Captain, and Training Captain at Lufthansa, Cordula Pflaum. We discuss the content and themes of her book ‚Hello, this is Your Captain Speaking: Of Soaring Heights, Prejudices, and My Life as a Pilot,‘ set to be released on March 20, 2024, by Goldmann Verlag.

Interview with Cordula Pflaum I Julia Meyn for the

Goldman Verlag (January 2024)

„A look behind the scenes“

16 Questions for the Pilot, Captain, and Training Captain at Lufthansa, Cordula Pflaum. We discuss the content and themes of her book ‚Hello, this is Your Captain Speaking: Of Soaring Heights, Prejudices, and My Life as a Pilot,‘ set to be released on March 20, 2024, by Goldmann Verlag.

strenghen Patients safety

A Perspective from Aviation on Error Culture and Communication in Healthcare

The project „patients for patient safety“ is supported by the Federal Ministry of Health and aligns with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021-2030. Its aim is to involve patients in raising awareness about patient safety and to strengthen the safety culture in healthcare.

Learning from the aviation industry

Cordula Pflaum, Lufthansa Training Captain, emphasizes the importance of psychologically safe teams in healthcare. In collaboration with institutions such as Kilikum rechts der Isar, the Technical University of Munich (TUM), and the AO Foundation, she transforms these skills into the field of medicine. She compares the approaches of the aviation industry and healthcare regarding error culture and communication.

Article Fränkischer Tag (03/05/2024)

„Cordula Pflaum’s book can also inspire other industries…

The female flight captain from Hallstadt offers insights into the cockpit.

She trains Airbus pilots and has been working for Lufthansa for over 30 years – Cordula Pflaum’s book can also inspire other industries.

Cordula Pflaum wanted to become a pilot or an astronaut already at the age of eleven. „That was indeed my childhood dream,“ says the woman from Hallstadt, who has been living her dream of being a pilot for more than 30 years now.

She has long been training others as an instructor captain for long-haul flights and applies the lessons from aviation to other industries as well.

Just recently, the 54-year-old returned from Cape Town and is using a few days off to advance her latest project: In about two weeks, her book „Good day, this is your captain speaking“ will be released, which Pflaum co-authored with journalist and writer Heidi Friedrich. In it, Pflaum reports on „high flights, prejudices, and my life as a pilot.“

wmn – dein Lifestylemagazin (03/20/2024)

„About highflighs and prejudices – Interview with Cordula Pflaum“

Cordula Pflaum’s life is worth a book: Which she will publish on March 20, 2024. It’s about her career as one of the first female pilots.

“Hello, this is your captain speaking” – this is how Cordula Pflaum titles her first book, which will be published on March 20, 2024. She was one of the first female commercial pilots in Germany. Their lives are characterized by courage, challenges and joy, but also by prejudices and assertiveness.

wmn – dein Lifestylemagazin (03/20/2024)

„About highflighs and prejudices – Interview with Cordula Pflaum“

Cordula Pflaum’s life is worth a book: Which she will publish on March 20, 2024. It’s about her career as one of the first female pilots.

“Hello, this is your captain speaking” – this is how Cordula Pflaum titles her first book, which will be published on March 20, 2024. She was one of the first female commercial pilots in Germany. Their lives are characterized by courage, challenges and joy, but also by prejudices and assertiveness.

Weil Geld spaß macht – finanzielle  (MAi 2024)

Power job pilot: Cordula Pflaum did pioneering work in the cockpit – and still does

How does it feel to be on the ground, when high flights belong to your daily life?

The mission in the air can bring dramatic situations with it but evenly the feeling of happiness.

3 women, 1 industry: aviation

Zeitungsartikel Zeit Online (06.2024)

Experience as a pilot 

„You have a husband and kids, why are you in the air so much?“

Cordula Pflaum is an experienced pilot. In her career she had to listen to a lot of things – especially from men. How to persevere when you’re constantly being watched.

What puts women off about being a pilot is the roster, says Cordula Pflaum. Among other things, she wrote the book “Hello, this is your captain speaking” about it.

I’ve known since I was a child that I wanted to be a pilot one day – in 1990 I finally got the chance to prove myself. Why am I starting this? Because at that time I was one of the two to three percent of women who applied to the German Aerospace Center in Hamburg for a career as a pilot.

Artikle about cordula pflaum

Business insider (July 2024)

„I train future pilots as a captain at Lufthansa“

I am the youngest of four daughters and the only one who knew what I wanted to do professionally when I was eleven. Back then, it was clear to me: I wanted to be a pilot or an astronaut. I pursued this dream without hesitation, even though I didn’t know if it would ever work out. Today I am one of the few female pilots and the first training captain for long-haul flights.

My father was an economist and worked for Lufthansa in the 1960s, but never as a pilot. He liked to talk about how he wanted to be a pilot, but couldn’t fulfill his dream because of his poor eyesight. Perhaps his stories influenced my choice of career. But I am the only one in my family who has chosen a technical profession.

Artikel über Cordula Pflaum

Business Insider (Juli 2024)

„I train future pilots as a captain at Lufthansa“

I am the youngest of four daughters and the only one who knew what I wanted to do professionally when I was eleven. Back then, it was clear to me: I wanted to be a pilot or an astronaut. I pursued this dream without hesitation, even though I didn’t know if it would ever work out. Today I am one of the few female pilots and the first training captain for long-haul flights.

Artikel about Cordula Pflaum – Goldmann Verlag / IN  (3.July 2024)

„We need more female pilots“

It does not work! There isn’t! When women aim high, even the sky has no limits. And Cordula Plum is the best proof of this!

 

„I work with people, have responsibility and have the most beautiful office in the world“ Just a few more minutes, Mom, please!“ All mothers probably know this sentence when their children want to spend a little more time in dreamland in the morning. Cordula Pflaum’s mother knew the sentence from a completely different situation: her little daughter just wanted to look at the sky longer: „Every Thursday after piano lesson, I begged my mother to stop at the airport on the way back so that I could watch the planes can,“ the pilot remembers and has to laugh: „From the very beginning, I was fascinated by what people are capable of and what incredible technical possibilities they were able to create.“

REVIEWS & FEEDBACK

Voices from my surroundings

„I had the opportunity to work with Cordula during my time at the Lufthansa Group. Cordula is an excellent trainer who quickly recognizes what her participants need. She inspires through personal experiences, practical examples, and knowledge. The development of people and lifelong learning are her priorities.“

Martin Egerth

Head of People and Learning Development,
Sky Guide

„When I had the opportunity to work with Cordula, I experienced her as extremely reliable and persistent. She is extremely open-minded and an excellent listener. No matter how challenging the task was, fun was always a part of it, and ‚impossible‘ is not a word in her vocabulary.“

Ralf Lanwehr

Prof. Dr. rer. oec.

„Cordula’s natural warmth, inspiring presence, and zest for excellence make her a charismatic leader whose experiences translate and resonate across many fields. Through our years of exchanging ideas, perspectives, and asking great questions, Cordula is a constant inspiration.

Barbara Hannigan

Principal Guest Conductor of Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Premiere Artiste Invitée of Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and founder of Equilibrium Young Artists Mentoring Initiative