Noise Comment Hotline: 844-266-6266

Elizabeth Antoine-Hands – EAA Board Member

Elizabeth Antoine-Hands is a familiar face around the San Carlos Airport (SQL). An Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chapter 20 at-large board member who is leading construction of the Van’s RV-12 in the EAA Airplane Build Hangar, she is an ever-present EAA representative during public tours of SQL. Elizabeth’s passion for aviation and charisma is shared with all those she encounters and mentors.

The child of emigrants from England—her parents met as undergrads at the University of Birmingham—Elizabeth has strong memories of traveling between the US and the UK to visit extended family. As a youth, she whiled away the hours on a flight simulator, and at age 11 after a flight in a gyro plane, she and her parents soon recognized her love for aviation. Palo Alto Prep, a STEM-focused high school in Mountain View, offered an aviation elective which helped propel Elizabeth on her journey and is how she became involved with EAA Chapter 20 and building airplanes.

Now age 22, Elizabeth is an FAA-certified A&P mechanic, is pursuing a BS in Aerospace Engineering at San Jose State University, and is employed as an analyst assistant for NASA’s ASRS program. In 2022, she received a Patti Grace Smith Fellowship, a program that connects the nation’s leading aerospace companies with talented African American students. A related 3-month internship led her to Long Beach where she worked for Relativity Space, a start-up commercial rocket launch company.

While a mentor herself, Elizabeth has been mentored by the best. The fellowship is connecting and giving her direct access to a vast network of industry leaders. She credits Gretchen Kelly, County of San Mateo Airports Manager, as an important mentor. “Gretchen is one of a number of mentors who have been helpful and knowledgeable in my aviation journey, and has nudged me along the right path.”

Now, Elizabeth continues to pay it forward, while remaining focused on her own goals, which include earning a private pilot license. With a maturity beyond her years, she fuels her aviation passion by being around pilots and passengers. Through her extensive time around planes, she was motivated to get certified as an A&P. “No one designs airplanes that can be easily fixed,” Elizabeth said. “Through earning an engineering degree and my practical experience wrenching on airplanes, my goal is to change this.”

Elizabeth is currently and will remain an important contributor to the aviation industry. She expects to continue working around airports and the aerospace industry over the next 5-10 years, while completing undergraduate and graduate degrees, and perhaps a PhD. Look out for her name tied to design, testing, and effecting change to aviation regulations to enhance safety in the industry. 

As for the near term, Elizabeth will remain an EAA Chapter 20 volunteer, leading aircraft builds, and mentoring and inspiring local youth who have also been bitten by the aviation bug. She is also a role model for demonstrating successful careers beyond piloting. “Having spent a lot of time agonizing about my career milestones and wishing to do things in a particular order, I now recognize that everyone’s path is different,” she said. “Whichever path you take, it will lend value to your future endeavors, sometimes in the most unexpected ways.”


Connect with us