Transportation Industry Analyst, Airline Pilot, Author and Mom

My name is Lynn Spencer and I am delighted to have the opportunity to
mentor our next generation of girls with wings.  Whether you are 13 or 23,
you have many exciting opportunities available to you in aviation.  

I have been passionate about airplanes ever since I can remember.   The
moment when I knew that I had to be a pilot came in 6th grade, when my
father took me to an EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) Air Show in
Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  When I saw the F-14 Tomcat, I was hooked. I wanted
to fly jets . . . military ones preferably. I aimed for the Air Force
Academy, and was disappointed to learn that as a female with contact
lenses, I was not going to fly fighters.  I was advised that the best I could
hope for would be to navigate reconnaissance, and I knew I would never be
satisfied working the radios in some pilot's back seat, so I gave up my
dream for more "practical" pursuits.      

It was not until age 28 that I realized that I had let a part of myself die
when I gave up my dream of becoming an airline pilot. I investigated and
found out that I could still be an airline pilot even though I was not military.
I enrolled in Private Pilot Ground School two weeks later.  The week after
my first ground school ended, I started flight school full time. In eighteen
months, I earned my Private Pilot Certificate, Instrument Rating, Multi-
Engine Rating, Commercial Certificate, and then Certified Flight Instructor
Certificates. I was finally earning a living flying airplanes.  

I spent three years flight instructing and flying corporately until I was hired
by an airline in 1999. I very much enjoyed airline flying.  In the cockpit, the
Captain and First Officer trade off flying every other flight. The Captain sits
in the left seat and the First Officer in the right seat.  The pilot who is not
doing the flying (PNF . . . pilot not flying) works the radios.  It might sound
odd, but I always enjoyed both roles.  The “pilot talk” on the radio is fun.  
It's like its own language and it's fun to know the lingo.

A good memory helps as an airline pilot because you often receive long
clearances that you have to read back to the air traffic controllers.  It’s
important to be detail oriented, and organized. And good hand/eye
coordination is critical.  Other than that, flying airplanes is a learned skill,
and the more you practice (and aim for precision), the better you get!

After many years of flying for an airline,  I used my knowledge and love of
aviation and our airline industry to do something completely different: I
researched and wrote a book about the aviation perspective of 9-11.  The
book is called Touching History:  The Untold Stories of the Drama that
Unfolded in the Skies over America on 9/11.  I traveled around the country
talking to airline and fighter pilots, air traffic controllers, FAA managers and
military commanders.   It made me very proud, and I learned that as tragic
that day was, it could have been much worse if not for the courage,
dedication and resourcefulness of so many of these people.  

When I finished my book tour, I opted to turn my attention to Aviation
Safety and Security. Having served on the Air Line Pilots Association
National Security Committee, I turned my focus to Safety Risk Management
for the Federal Aviation Administration. I now work with controllers, pilots,
and a lot of very bright people who are working hard to put technology to
work as we incorporate unmanned aircraft into our national airspace. It is
very challenging and exciting work. It’s not flying airplanes, but it feels very
good to be able to put my airline experience to work to keep our skies safe.  

To all the girls and young women out there, if you love airplanes and flying,
then DO IT! Don't let anyone turn you away from your dream.  Aviation can
provide an incredible and rewarding career, and it works just fine with
raising a family also!  My kids say that watching me achieve my dreams has
inspired them to follow their own dreams and I can only hope that is true.
Find your dreams and make them yours! Have the courage to take a chance
and make a change and choose your destiny. You will never regret it.

Lynn Spencer
Transportation Industry Analyst/Pilot/Author
Regarding her book,
Touching History:
"It has been the most
humbling experience of
my life to have been
entrusted with the
stories of so many.  As
an airline pilot, I have
been aware of and
appreciated those who
work to make aviation
safe, but I have come
away from this project
with a deep admiration
for the courage and
bravery of so many
who were willing to put
their careers - and even
their lives - on the line
to keep September
11th from being an
even greater tragedy,
and those who work
24/7 to keep us safe."
"Follow your heart,
your dreams and your
passions to find your
path.  No fear!  You
can do anything!"
Using aviation to entertain
and educate girls about
their limitless
Using aviation to entertain
and educate girls about
their limitless
Using aviation to entertain
and educate girls about
their limitless
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