Pilots for cancer research, the Aviatrix Project / by Tom Henderix

Julien, as he would have featured on next year's Aviatrix Calendar.

The Aviatrix Calendar Project was founded by a small group of women pilots in 2015. Celebrating Emelie's fifth year of being free of cancer, the idea was to publish a stylish calendar with photographic portraits of women pilots to help raise funds for Cancerfoden, the Swedish cancer research society.

Emelie's fight is not over, but every day she inspires those around her by focussing on her career as a full-time commercial pilot who at the same time promotes a healthy lifestyle in her everyday life.

The group felt that a calendar would be the perfect way to inspire future pilots to pursue their dreams, while supporting a cause that affects all of us today.


For the 2018 calendar edition it was decided to expand the lineup to include male pilots. The aim was to make a calendar with twelve pilots who had all battled with cancer in some way. Unfortunately the project had to be put on hold, as the organisation became unmanageable due to cancer affecting several members of the organising committee once more.

Eight of the pilot portraits were scheduled to be made in Las Vegas by a fellow pilot who was also a photographer, with the remaining four being produced in Belgium by me. Since I had already scheduled one of the portraits with Julien, we went ahead and did the shoot anyway.

Julien is one of my fellow pilots who flies for Brussels Airlines. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in April 2013. Luckily his cancer was discovered at an early stage and, after six months of treatments, he is now in a seven-year monitoring period. The support of his family, friends and former girlfriend has really helped him through the rough times.

If you would like to support the fight against cancer, please click on one of the links below to make a donation to the cancer charity of your choice. Any help is greatly appreciated.

We shot this series of images with a Yak 52 at the airport of Temploux, Namur. All images made with a Fujifilm X-T2, XF 16/1.4, XF 35/2 & XF 50-140/2.8.