Airline: Frontier Airlines
Crew Position: First Officer
Where did you do your flight training?
I completed my flight training at Purdue University as a professional flight major. I participated in a 141 program and then obtained my CFI at the FBO on the field.
What airplanes have you flown during your career?
I have flown Cirrus SR20, Cessna 172/152, Piper Archer/ Warrior/ Arrow/ Seminole, RV-12, Pipistrel Sinus, Phenom 100, and Airbus A320/321.
How did you get interested in aviation?
My passion for aviation began at a young age. I grew up in an airline family, visited local flightlines, attended airshows, took discovery flights and spent many hours flying in a Piper Cherokee. As the youngest of four, I was not shy in begging my older siblings to sit in the back so I could get the perfect view from the front right seat. Some of my most treasured memories and favorite views are from flying up and down the seacoast of New England. As an airline family, I also grew up flying standby and I loved the freedom and spontaneity of traveling. Other standby families may relate to the creative spontaneity of going from Boston to Tampa by connecting through Puerto Rico because the flights are open!
Have you had any mentors throughout the years?
- My dad is a B737 Check Pilot for American Airlines and was my first mentor. I fondly remember my first general aviation flight getting to sit next to him and the thrill of pushing on the rudder pedals steering the plane near the hangars for the first time. While in school at Purdue, my dad was always the first call if I was struggling with a confusing aviation topic and we spent many hours studying together as I was preparing to become a CFI. I even made him sit in the student seat and taught him how to fly a Piper Warrior. He has always supported me and instilled in me the confidence I needed to become a professional airline pilot.
- Natasha Shcheglova, who I met through ISA+21, has been an extremely impactful mentor for me. I never would have made it through my CFI training without her support and the scholarship I received from ISA+21 & Women in Aviation. The CFI certification seemed unattainable until I met her. Her guidance and example that women can be successful airline pilots was “game changing” for me!
- My flight instructors at Purdue University and Frontier Airlines mentored me by patiently teaching me everything about flying a plane. They made sure I knew how to make safe decisions while flying and gave me lots of practice so I could become a skilled pilot. I especially enjoyed being mentored by female flight instructors. Their guidance and support helped me gain confidence.
My current aviation goal is to continue growing into an experienced, confident, and well rounded First Officer at Frontier Airlines. I also hope to continue mentoring and encouraging the next generation of aspiring female aviators through my own journey, contributing to greater gender diversity in the airline aviation career field. I enjoy sharing my successes as well as my failures with anyone who is interested in aviation. For me personally, stories of overcoming failures are more motivating than stories of easy successes.
I highly recommend visiting your local airport and taking a discovery flight to see if flying is something you really want to pursue. As a flight instructor, I had the exciting opportunity to take a future female pilot on a discovery flight and it was a privilege to help start her aviation career. Also, I would encourage talking to every pilot you meet and asking them how they got started. The journey might be challenging at times, but finding a mentor to help celebrate your milestones and overcome the obstacles makes all the difference. Most importantly, do not let the price of flying discourage you! There are many scholarships available through women aviation organizations especially ISA+21.
What has been your favorite things about being an airline pilot?
Being an airline pilot allows me to travel to places I would have never thought to go to before! Some layover cities are more stylish than others, but having the ability to be in multiple vibrant cities all in one day is the coolest perk of the job! It’s fun to shock my friends by saying I woke up in Philadelphia, had lunch in Fort Lauderdale and dinner in Denver!
What has been your favorite flight or aviation memory?
My favorite aviation memory was participating as a CFI in the Able Flight program during my time at Purdue University and meeting Sheila Xu. The program was developed to help people with disabilities get their sport pilots license. Sheila is deaf and wears a cochlear implant. We developed ways of communicating while flying through hand signals, short phrases, lip reading and shorthand written notes to help Sheila succeed. In just 6 weeks she went from “zero to hero” and passed her sports pilot checkride! Expanding my teaching skills and helping Sheila to achieve her goal was definitely the coolest thing I’ve done! We are still very good friends and together we enjoy celebrating each other’s newest adventures.
The women of ISA+21 have provided me with the opportunity to be supported by fellow female aviators. It is a “safe place” to share my victories and failures. I have been inspired and empowered by every ISA+21 member I have met. It is a privilege to be associated with such strong and hardworking female airline pilots.
What has ISA+21 meant to you in your aviation journey?
ISA+21 continues to be a positive building block of my aviation journey. Their support enabled me to train for my CFI with the additional aid of the Francesca Norris Memorial Scholarship. After I received my CFI license, I was able to teach multiple students, most notably several female pilots. When I was beginning my own aviation journey, I had a female CFI who greatly impacted me and I feel honored to follow this example when signing off my own female students on their private or sport licenses. These foundational moments between a CFI and student are incredibly significant in forming bonds within the aviation community and confidence in one’s abilities, but more importantly instills a sense of hope and passion for the field that I continue to carry with me.