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Growing up in my family, I learned that girls aren’t good at math, science, machines, technology, or reading maps.


(Spoiler alert: flying airplanes involves all of these things!)


One time in college I became paralyzed by calculus and just stopped going to class. My grades that semester were 6 A’s and an F. I used this same strategy for chemistry lab, which resulted in a slightly less faily D+.


Seeking strategies to help me understand never occurred to me. It was a classic panic freeze/flight response. This feeling of failure was so excruciating, I began choosing options that were easy. Floating along on a stream of least resistance, I resumed my summer waitressing job after graduation.


Old joke:


Question: What does an English major say at work?


Answer: Do you want fries with that?


Waitressing morphed into a stint in hotel management that involved power suits, pantyhose and pumps. It was sucking the life out of my soul. 


Taking up yoga to cope with the stress of this hideous job was the start of my exploration into natural health. During my first-ever massage, I realized this kind of work involved way less angry customers and chefs throwing frying pans and way more blissed out people and lavender essential oil.   

Making the decision to quit my “respectable” job, and move across the country to attend massage school was one of the first times I hit smack up against the “People like us don’t ________________” phenomena.

Color your own compass.jpg

Fill in the blank: 


-Abandon the New England homeland, move to Arizona and start a business in a profession some regard as either flaky or illicit.


-Get a backpack, passport, and plane ticket and roam solo around England and Ireland after a devastating break up.


-Sell all worldly possessions, quit jobs, and move to Europe for a year because three weeks wasn’t long enough.


-Become a pilot.

The whole “become a pilot” impulse was so outlandish that at first I was embarrassed to admit it. I didn’t want to start a new career as a professional pilot; I wanted to learn to fly for one reason – the idea thrilled me. 

The inner voices started on cue - women your age, with your skills and income level don’t take up flying just for fun. It's frivolous, expensive, impractical, and selfish. But the feeling tugged so hard, ignoring it wasn’t an option.


Author Elizabeth Gilbert wrote, “The Universe buries strange jewels deep within us and then stands back to see if we can find them.” It’s fascinating to consider that there is a version of our lives where our innate talents are realized, and that it’s our most important task to dig them out. It’s haunting to contemplate the treasures of people’s talents remaining buried.


Sometimes I scare myself when I think of how easily I could have dismissed the random notion to become a pilot. Or if I had given up when I couldn’t land the freaking airplane hour after hour after hour. If I really believed that I couldn’t figure out combustion engines or meteorology or navigation.  


The lessons I learned during flight training shattered false notions about what I had assumed were impossible. It transformed what I believe I am capable of. Flying is the perfect metaphor for something humans intrinsically crave – to fly free, to soar, and all those other damned clichés.


Flying airplanes has literally and figuratively given me a new vantage of the world. Up there, I’m gazing at vistas unimagined. I invite you to hop into the cockpit with me, buckle in, and let’s fly. We’ve got some epic places to go.

Pilot experience:

  • Private pilot

  • Tailwheel and high performance endorsements

  • Part 107 remote drone pilot


I’ve flown all kinds of fun things including:

  • Aerobatic competition

  • Helicopters

  • Gyroplanes

  • Seaplanes

  • Bush planes

  • Gliders

  • Old-timey open cockpit biplanes

  • Balloons


I’ve also had singular experiences flying:

  • Test pilot for an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) “flying car” prototype

  • Pipistrel’s Alpha Electro electric airplane

  • Boomerang, Burt Rutan’s one-of-kind, asymmetrical twin-engine aircraft.

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