[EP29] Erika Armstrong Chick in the Cockpit
“Contrails - contrails are evidence you were there. Contrails are simply what you leave behind.” Erika Armstrong , A Chick in the Cockpit
Erika Armstrong became a pilot by accident, after going to work for a FBO to pay college bills. She fell in love with the aviation profession, the smell of jet fuel and the tales of various pilots who she crossed paths with.
One flight lesson later and the rest is history. Erika Armstrong was addicted.
We cover the 2 strong women who shaped her career, one for the good, how the 99s helped her get hours, and then an opposing female force, who tried to derail Erika’s career by holding her back because she was a woman, and “the corporate clients may not be comfortable with a woman pilot…”
Being the token female in a male dominated industry like aviation. Maybe only 6% of the pilot workforce are female, and a smaller number are captains.
How do we encourage, educate and attract the next generation of female pilots. It’s such a great time to get into the industry with the pilot shortage out there.
How late is too late to shift careers and become an airline pilot?
What are the characteristics of a good pilot:
Age and wisdom are great. Life experiences.
98% of the male pilots and men in aviation along Erika’s path were amazing and so encouraging and helpful of her career.
Erika, unfortunately made a poor choice in her husband, who ended up being an abuser, both physically and psychologically. He manipulated her to the point of giving up her career, and ultimately putting into a position of losing her pilot’s license.
Thankfully, it was resolved and cleared off her record.
How the system itself let Erika down and failed her. The importance of your female network of friends. And, being a mentor and source for other women.
We explore how Erika dealt with motherhood and the extreme stress and challenges placed on her as a new mom and a pilot, leaving her child for days at a time.
The struggles, even today, with childcare and accommodating working mothers.
Compartmentalizing - this is a known part of most pilot personalities and males, and how this plays into Erika’s personality. Low neuroticism and how pilots can remain calm during emergencies and not freak out.
Situational awareness - conscious acknowledgement of your surroundings and understanding them vs remaining on auto pilot.
Multi tasking and how women are great at much of this.
A and B students vs C students - who is more risk averse and who can handle risk?
What inspired writing “A Chick in the Cockpit”? Stories like Eat Pray Love and Wild, sharing those challenges and stories that we as women and the human spirit endures and grows through.
Are there life lessons? Do things happen for a reason? What does the future hold for Erika Armstrong - all good things!
Learn more about Erika Armstrong, A Chick in the Cockpit.
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