Aimee Burn's love of flying started early in her life, when she did her first trial flight aged 15. Today, aged 20, she flies over the North Island's volcanoes for a living, giving tourists a bird's-eye view of some of New Zealand's most spectacular landscapes.

Burn's job means she gets to do something every day that is on many people's bucket lists and she knows the people she takes on her flights are often people for whom the flight is nothing short of a dream come true.

She says the works in "the most beautiful office in the world" and her Instagram account, which has grown quite the following, now with more than 20,000 followers, provides evidence of that.

Just getting paid to look at volcano’s all day wby?

A post shared by Aimee Burn | NZ (@aimeburn) on

Burn says she wants to inspire other people to follow their dreams, even if their ideal job sounds hard to achieve.


"When people ask me why I wanted to become a pilot, I simply answer, "Why would you NOT want to become a pilot?" Burn tells the Herald.

"I think we have the most beautiful offices in the world, and not to mention how much fun flying a plane is."

"My favourite thing about flying is how happy I can make the passengers simply by doing what I love and sharing my passion with them. The smiles and laughter from everyone after getting back from a scenic flight are just so rewarding. I make their day and they make mine," she adds.

Flying above Ruapehu and the other North Island volcanos means "no one day will ever be the same as the last".

"The wind would have changed, the amount of snow on the volcanos might have melted off a bit and they'll look slightly different, the crater lake on top of Mount Ruapehu might be steaming or it might be neutral. And, of course, I am taking up completely new passengers who could be from any country, so getting to know a bit about them and their travels in New Zealand is always interesting."

Burn especially loves taking young children on her scenic flights.

"They're very entertaining," she says. "Some of them will fall asleep after five minutes, some will be yelling with excitement in the back seat which always makes me laugh and once I had a young girl who spent the whole flight staring at me from the backseat. It was hilarious, I couldn't convince her to look outside at the beautiful scenery!"

Burn says she would love to see more people join her industry but says the only way for that to happen is for more people to be exposed to it, as many don't even think of it as a possible career option.


The cost of getting that education is also a big issue for many people.

"I think the cost of flight training is definitely a huge barrier which stops people from becoming pilots, even gaining a private pilot's license costs upwards of $10,000. Most pilots in New Zealand who have undertaken commercial training would have student loans of more than $100,000," she says.

"Except for the costs of pilot training, I think a huge barrier which stops people from becoming pilots is that they actually don't know enough about it. At high school we are very well informed of all the different universities we can attend and what courses we can study, so I think a lot of people are under the impression that the expectation is for them to finish high school and choose a degree to study at university, not realising that there are actually other options."

Burn says most of her high school colleagues were surprised to find out she wasn't going to university and says there is an expectation that university is "just the thing to do".

Most pilots in New Zealand who have undertaken commercial training would have student loans of more than $100,000.

She didn't. Instead of the uni degree, the studied hard for her pilot's license and now spends her days flying over volcanoes. And she wouldn't change a thing.