Airline: American Airlines
Crew Position: First Officer
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Domicile: Los Angeles
What is the year and location of the flight school you attended?
I grew up in Pocatello, Idaho in a poor family with five siblings. My mom just wanted me to be a stay-at-home mom but that was not what I wanted. I wanted to travel, see the world, and then have a family. In high school, I took AP Calculus and got straight A’s in all of my classes which lead me to be competitive for college. I was really drawn to aviation program at Utah State University. Because of my grades, USU offered me an academic scholarship to help cover out-of-state tuition. My school counselor, Ronnie Green, helped me find a way to get loans and Pell grants to cover remaining tuition and flight fees. I also worked three jobs at school to cover books and housing. I was honored to receive a scholarship from Telex at the Women in Aviation Conference in 2004 and in 2006, I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Aviation Technology from Utah State University.
What airplanes have you flown during your career?
I’ve flown the Cessna 152,172,182, 201, Piper Arrow, Beechcraft Travelair, and Debonair. Have you ever heard of a Cessna Skyscooter? I had the opportunity to fly one while I was instructing.
My senior year of college I met a Texan, we fell in love, got married, and I moved to Texas. I was a fight instructor in Fort Worth for about one and a half years before I landed my first airline job flying the Embraer-145 (2008) as a First Officer and then a Captain at American Eagle (Envoy Air). I now fly the Airbus 320 for American Airlines as a First Officer.
Have you had/have any mentors throughout the years?
Yes, one of my professors, Gary Green and my counselor, Ronnie Green at Utah State University. Jan Anderson from American Airlines, who I met at WAI in 2006, has been a great mentor for me as well. They all have helped me so much because I did not have any family in aviation.
One of my friends approached me in high school and told me about an aviation scholarship where we would spend one week in Boise, Idaho to explore all the different careers in aviation. At the end of that one week I didn’t think I could be a pilot because I was a female, so I thought maybe I could be an Air Traffic Controller. I took a class that placed us in a 10-hour internship in the top two jobs that we were interested in where I spent 10 hours in the Class D Pocatello Tower. I did not find it very interesting. What I found the most interesting was what the pilot was doing. That’s when I knew I wanted to be a pilot.
Do you have any future aviation goals you hope to achieve?
Yes, I hope that I can help others achieve their goals like I did. I mentor pilots from Utah State University, American Eagle, and AA. I find it very rewarding. My other goal is to fly the 777 or the 787 international overseas to see more of the world.
Do you live in base or commute?
I commute to LAX from Dallas. I was based in DFW for 10 years with American Eagle, but I really enjoy the Hawaii flying out of LAX on the A-320. The seniority that comes with being at a junior base is nice, so for me, it’s worth the commute right now.
What have been some recent challenges you have faced?
I was almost furloughed 01 NOV 20 because of COVID-19. Fortunately, I was saved by the pilots senior to me who took volunteer furlough and military leaves. I instead was given a Zero Time Line (which meant I was not guaranteed pay unless another pilot dropped me a trip to fly). Luckily for me, there were some pilots that did, so I was able to make a decent paycheck! I became a full time pilot again in 01 FEB 2021.
What would you say to girls looking to become an airline pilot?
Coming from a person who had a lot of challenges along the way, take it from me; Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do it! Don’t give up no matter what challenges you face. It’s all worth it in the end!
What do you feel is a benefit to being an ISA+21 member?
I think the biggest benefit is getting to know all the other females in our industry. I think it makes a huge difference when we can all stick together.