Pilot

My Name is Lin and I live in the beautiful town of Frederick, MD, which is
about 40 miles northwest of Washington, DC. I have a son that is 20, have
been divorced about five years, and currently have no pets except my son's
dog, Seamus, who comes to visit me about once a month.

Like most pilots, I always wanted to fly. I grew up on a farm near Dulles
Airport and would run outside to watch for the Concorde when I heard its
loud engines overhead. We often had hot air balloons land in the nearby
fields and I loved rushing out to talk to them while they packed up. I visited
Kennedy Space Center when I was 11 and was fascinated with everything I
saw. I attended my first airshow in Ramstein, Germany when I was 12. We
stood in the front row and watched a Harrier Jet take off like a helicopter and
the Red Devils perform and I was totally hooked. Unfortunately, I thought
that only men who joined the Air Force could fly planes so I put my dreams
aside because I never bothered to ask anyone how they became a pilot.

Many years went by before I had a chance to exercise my own dreams. I
supplemented my interests by supporting my son's love of space and
aviation by buying him helicopter rides and airplane rides for his birthdays
and signed us both up for Parent and Child Space Camp, where we got to
"fly" a mission in a space shuttle simulator. It wasn't until I was 35, newly
single, and dating a gentleman who happened to be a private pilot that I
actually got to pursue my dream. He explained to me that anyone can learn
to fly and encouraged me to try it.  Several flights later with him, combined
with a breathtaking tour of the Alaskan countryside in a float plane, sealed
the deal. If I had only just asked many years before how you could become a
pilot, I would not have had to wait so long to make my dream a reality.

I recently sold my Piper Archer III and purchased a new 2007 Cessna 182T
Skylane. I even got to fly it home from the factory in Independence, Kansas
on May 14, 2007. What a thrill.  I lease my plane back to the flight school
where I earned my private certificate and instrument rating to help defray
expenses.

I fly for a hobby and like to give back to the aviation community by
participating in EAA Young Eagle Flights, Volunteer Pilots of America, Women
in Aviation, and The Ninety-Nines International Organization of Women
Pilots. I want to spread the word that ANYONE can be a pilot, especially
women. I work in Mortgage Banking as a career. I try to apply training and
techniques from both flying and banking to help me achieve my goals in both
worlds. for example, Checklists took on a new meaning and importance for
me and my employees that report to me when I was able to explain how
pilots rely on them to avoid missing a step that could potentially cause an
accident that could physically harm them. Realizing that missing a checklist
step in the banking world that could cause a person to lose their home or
cost them more money was just as critical as a pilot's check made us
improve our error ratios. I have a degree in History but have always worked
with accounting and figures, which came in handy with flying.

I am working towards obtaining my Certified Flight Instructor Certificate so I
can give back to the flying community even more by teaching future pilots
how to earn their wings and dreams. I also am involved with AOPA's Project
Pilot and have mentored several students over the past couple of years. The
greatest thrill came in June of this year when one of my mentoree's passed
his private checkride.

I have not yet written about my experiences but have been interviewed and
quoted for an AOPA Flight Training article about tips for airplane renters on
how to treat the plane like you own it. I was also recently interviewed by a
local magazine about flying out for "$200 hamburgers". This spring, my
picture was included in a group shot that is the feature of the Virginia
Aviation Aeronautical Chart for 2007-2008. I was the 26th person to earn
the Virginia Aviation's Gold Level Ambassador Program Flight Jacket and the
1st pilot, male or female, from the state of Maryland to complete the
program, which entailed landing or visiting all 67 Public Use airports, 4
museums, a safety seminar, and an EAA fly-in in the state of Virginia.

I am only 5 feet 1 inch tall. I usually get a reaction to the tune of "how can
someone so small fly a big plane?" Most people are very impressed and want
to hear the story of how I got started flying, and usually what the most
scariest time was I've had.  I always explain that flying is a thrill every
moment and if it was scary I wouldn't be flying. I avoid discussing scary
moments because I want to encourage people to love flying, not add to the
myths and legends that flying is dangerous.

What role do skills in math, science, engineering and technology play
in supporting my job?
Practical math skills are very important to have for
any career, especially flying. Computer Sciences will help you with the new
technology installed in planes today. My new plane is equipped with the
Garmin GFC700 Glass Panels, the same equipment as in Cessna's new
Mustang Jet. We joke that you need a degree in "buttonology" to learn how
to press the right combination of buttons on Primary Flight and Multifunction
Flight Displays to get the plane to do what you want it to do. It takes critical
thinking, organization, geography, research, and study skills to be
successful as a pilot.

What activities do you suggest for young children or young adults to
prepare them for a career like yours?
Ask Questions!!! Regardless of the
career you want to pursue, people love to talk about what they do and why
they love it so much. You can stay involved with Aviation and Flying even
though you don't fly for a living or are a mechanic or air traffic controller, or
flight attendant.  Think outside of the box -- be creative with your dreams,
and don't forget to dust those dreams off a couple of times a year by
attending a local fly-in, airshow, or aviation museum to meet and talk to
people with similar interests.

Flying has been one of my greatest achievements. It is a real confidence
booster and is a very special privilege to earn. You can combine flying with
any career or make it your career. That is the beauty of being a pilot! Thanks
to people like Lynda, you can make contact with other women who have tried
and succeeded. Make sure you connect with them to help you on your
journey!
TM
Using aviation to entertain
and educate girls about
their limitless
opportunities...
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