Liz McConaghy is a former RAF Boeing CH-47 Chinook pilot who served for a total of just over 17 years. Joining the RAF at age 18, it was only three years later, when aged 21, Liz would become the youngest aircrew member to be deployed to Iraq. Throughout her career, Liz would be deployed to Iraq twice and Afghanistan a remarkable ten times and spent much of this period on the Medical Emergency Response Team. Having struggled with her mental health – feeling detached from her emotions and suicidal, Liz now works as a motivational speaker, inspiring others in a similar position to seek help by sharing how she overcame her own demons.
As a child Liz had always wanted to see the world and fell in love with the Armed Forces at aged 16 when she visited her brother who was in the Army. After seeing a magazine with a man hanging out of the side of the helicopter at the army careers office, it was then when Liz decided that was what she wanted to do, even though she had no idea what ‘that’ actually was. In 2001 Liz was accepted into the RAF and began her career as a Chinook pilot based at RAF Odiham. She was the longest serving female crewmember on 18(B) Squadron and was the only female crewmember to serve on the Chinook wing for 4 years.
Having witnessed more horrors than anyone should in their lifetime, Liz began to detach herself from her emotions and this would take a toll on her mental health. Even though she was the first to comfort her fellow MERT crewmembers she never heeded her own advice. After being medically discharged from the RAF in 2019, Liz entered the lowest point of her life and attempted to commit suicide in 2020. Soon after waking up from a two day coma in Basingstoke Intensive Care, Liz sought help from two charities: Help for Heroes and PTSD Resolution. During this dark time she found an escape in the form of writing for her love about Chinooks, and is now the author of the best-selling book ‘Chinook Crew ‘Chick’: High and Lows of Forces Life from the Longest Serving Female RAF Chinook Force Crewmember’.
Liz also went on to have a career with a disabled flying charity to help wounded soldiers to get flying scholarships. Even as a civilian, Liz is helping to save lives by sharing her story of her highs and lows and is determined to help people who find themselves in a similar position to her. With a truly unique story, Liz shares how she emerged from the darkest point in her life with her audiences. If you are looking for a strong woman who will be able to provide audiences with the tools necessary to rebuild their life, look no further than Liz McConaghy.