I am not sure when that first moment was when flying infiltrated deep in my veins. I do know that I related flying with travel. After so many years I am still not sure if it was travel or the actual power of flight that fueled my burn deep inside of me. Today I will walk you through my aviation journey.
A couple of favorite men in my life, my dad and my Uncle Harold, were pilots. My dad retired as a weekend warrior in the Tennessee Air National Guard and my Uncle was a private pilot. I loved flying with them both. At a young age I always wanted to fly the coup and explore wherever opportunity arose. I always thought being a flight attendant, “stewardess”, would be so cool and would allow me to see the world. All of these exposures to aviation layered on top of each other led to my love of flying.
After I graduated from The University of Tennessee, I got a teaching job at a wonderful new high school teaching Home Economics. After a while, I knew I could not see myself doing this for the next 40 years of my life. In the spring of the following year I heard that American Airlines was hiring new “Flight Attendants” (not stewardesses any more). I made application and in a whirlwind of interviews I was headed to Dallas Ft. Worth to the American Airlines Flight Academy or what we called the “CHARM FARM”.
My first year of flying was a love hate experience for me. Chicago was my first base and I went there still attached to a home-town boyfriend. BIG MISTAKE!! I should have dumped him when I took the job, because I spent most of my free time flying back and forth to nurture that very unhealthy relationship. Have you ever done that? I finally got over him and we broke up.
After a year of flying as a flight attendant, the 5th woman pilot hired by American Airlines became one of my roommates. I loved her so much and she inspired me to believe that I too could be a pilot someday. The road seemed so long at that time.
That year I took a few lessons, but then was derailed by falling in love once again with a cute boy from Houston, TX. I met him on a blind date while on a layover. That should be in a movie…… Hence, I quit taking flying lessons and got married a year later. Another “BIG MISTAKE”!!! Why do we do that????? After 7 or 8 years of marriage, I found myself wanting to start taking flying lessons again. Reason being?…… the man I married proved to be a poor provider and a verbal abuser. I wanted more from life, so I decided that I would have to be the main provider if I was to ever have any financial stability. Besides that, I was still wondering if I could actually do it. YES!! I could definitely have a nice career as an airline pilot and it still wasn’t too late.
I was dogged about that journey. A burn deep in my gut kept me going with blinders on like and ole’ mule. I got all of my ratings in a year and a half . I knocked on doors at Hobby Airport with major corporations, that could help me build flying time. I will say that being a woman during this time helped me secure my first professional flying job. I networked with every one in the general aviation industry that I felt could help me on my quest and I did this in the most, proper way. My first job as a co-pilot for a Houston charter company was the most boring and yet the most exciting job I have ever had. It wan’t easy!!!! I had to work harder than the guys just to prove my value in what had been known as a “man’s world”.
Even though I only flew airplanes for a living for 4 years, I have no regrets and I am so thankful for some amazing experiences!!! After all that is how I met my husband. He was one of my passengers………
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Over the years of traveling by air, I have tried so many things to make my life a little easier. Below are some items and brands that I really like. Just recently, I was introduced to a really great roll on bag that is perfect for a short weekend trip or for an international trip. Please check out bags by Away Travel. They were developed by frequent travelers where the roll on bags even have a phone charger located on top right by the handle. How many times have you wished you didn’t have to sit on a floor in an airport to charge your phone? They also have all sizes to choose from to fit your travel needs.