One day about two years ago, I found this watch company that made absolutely beautiful women’s aviator watches.  One especially stood out to me.  I pinned it to my “Favorite Things” board on Pinterest and thought to myself, “Someday…when I’m an airline pilot…I’ll buy that watch!”

 

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

This might sound pretty silly, but after I passed my checkride for my Private pilot’s license, I felt a tad lost.  Now what?!  I was VERY happy to have my license, but I missed being a student pilot and all of the training that comes with it.  I knew I wanted to go forward with my Instrument Rating, but also knew that I needed to save up some money first. I kept looking backwards at all the fun I had, and wasn’t looking forward at what might be coming.

And over and over again, Jesus kept putting quotes, verses, and messages that just kept saying, “Look forward!  What’s ahead is so good it doesn’t even compare to the great time you’ve already had!  The good things I have planned for you are too many to count!”

 

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

Every year Women in Aviation has a conference in March.  There are speakers, vendors, seminars, and LOTS of women (also some men…but predominately women) who all have something to do with aviation…pilots, mechanics, dispatchers, air traffic controllers, and more.

It’s also at this conference where they award the scholarships to the winners.  I had applied for some scholarships this year, and one of them was The Abingdon Company’s “It’s About Time” scholarship.

 

It’s a pretty neat format that the company has for you to enter…you get to use your creativity instead of the usual essay writing that scholarships require.  You can make something…anything…that showcases your talent, and will also support their company.  The winner gets to go to the Women in Aviation conference, all expenses paid!  The Abingdon Company just so happens to be the company that creates those amazing watches I was talking about earlier 🙂

As I was working on my entry, I thought, “Should I really be spending time on this?  I probably won’t win.  There’s probably way cooler submissions that they’re getting…”  but I knew I shouldn’t listen to that and I kept going (thankfully!).

 

This is one of the eight designs I submitted for my application.

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

February 14th, I was getting ready to go to bed, but I checked my email “one more time”. I saw an email from The Abingdon Co. and in the subject line it said “Congratulations! You are our 2016…”

 

I thought, “Oh my goodness, OH MY GOODNESS….okay, CALM DOWN and open it to make sure it is what you think it is!”
I opened it up to find that I had won their scholarship to go down to Nashville’s WAI conference…registration, airfare, EVERYTHING paid for! Mommy was the only one still up, and I ran over and exclaimed so much that it startled her, lol!  (Follow The Abingdon Co. if you’d like to see more of the designs I made for them…they haven’t put them out yet, but Abingdon told me that their newsletter subscribers would be getting them…so be sure to subscribe 😉 )

 

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

I had posted about winning the scholarship on Facebook, and a friend teased, “Did you have to buy one of the watches to apply for the scholarship?”.  The Abingdon Co. came on and commented, “No, but one is included in her winnings.”

I was so surprised!    I almost cried actually.  I knew that the conference was part of the scholarship, but I didn’t know about the watch.  If there is anything that God keeps showing me over and over and over during my flight training is what a good, GOOD Father He is, and how He loves to bless and delight His children for no other reason than that He loves us. Not because I deserve it.  Not because I’ve “been good”.  But because HE is so good.  You know how Psalms says that God, “Daily loads us with benefits”?

First the conference…then the watch…I felt loaded down and overwhelmed with His goodness!

 

Excitement was building as the time came closer to leave.  Abingdon called me and made arrangements for my flight.  I discovered the American Airlines app and was delighted to see that it told you what KIND of jets I would be flying in, much to my sisters’ amusement!

Ted, my instructor, told me to text him any pictures if anything exciting happened.  I was joking that he might be getting a lot of pictures because I was sure to be excited about a lot of things.  He teased, “Maybe I shouldn’t have said that!” 😀

 

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

On March 9th, Susannah drove me to the Fort Wayne airport at 4:00 a.m.  She is a morning person and I am NOT. Unless it has to do with flying…I’ll get up any hour of the morning.  So she was laughing at how chipper and awake I was because I was SO excited!

 

While waiting for my flight in Fort Wayne, I looked at their museum display.  Another lady was also looking at the displays and she told me, “I wish I knew what all of this meant!”  I thought, “I DO know what all of this means!” 😀  I just joined the Ninety-Nines this year, so I was excited to see this display.  I know I’ve seen it before, but that was before I knew “what all of this meant”…so I hadn’t really noticed it.

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

I’ve flown commercially a couple of other times, but this time I was paying attention to what runways we were taking off of and landing on. I also spotted runways that we flew over. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to spot them, even when we were tens of thousands of feet in the air! I had a layover at Charlotte, so I had breakfast and watched tons of people.  I wanted to talk to a pilot and ask some questions, but I was too shy to.

 

Then I flew from Charlotte to Nashville. On that flight I sat next to a girl who is in the Army, named Sarah. It was fun talking to her. I was telling her that I was trying to figure out what runway we were landing on and she laughed! We had a pretty good crosswind, and I could feel the crab angle…and then at the last second we straightened out and landed…it was awesome!  Sarah wasn’t as excited about the landing as I was, lol!  She was joking, “This pilot needs to get his life together!”  I was like, “Eh…he’s fine!” 😀

 

After we landed, I waited so that I was the last one on the plane. Then I went up and talked to the captain and asked him some questions about the flight (and what runway we had landed on, because I still hadn’t figured it out!).  I told him that I had just gotten my private pilot’s license and so all this stuff was interesting to me and he said, “Congratulations!  You can take over my job when I retire in a few years!” Then he asked, “Do you want to sit in the cockpit and take some pictures?”

 

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

Oh my goodness! Of course I said YES!!!! So I got to sit in the left seat and I tried taking it all in, but I was too excited to just be sitting in the cockpit.  Now I wish I would have asked more questions about all of the buttons and levers up there, because an Airbus 319 has way more buttons and levers than my Cessna 172!  But I was so overwhelmed and excited, I didn’t even think to ask more questions (Ted would be shocked…he always teases me about all of my questions I have for him). 😀

 

My First Women in Aviation Conference
I took some pictures, then he asked if I wanted him to take one of me. Yes yes yes I did! 🙂  Once I finally got off of the plane I was walking around the Nashville airport with a silly grin on my face, I’m sure!

 

My First Women in Aviation ConferenceI sent Ted a picture of all the jets I could see out the window at Charlotte…then when I landed at Nashville I sent him an update. 😀

 

I was noticing that there was live music in the Nashville airport which I thought was neat…then I realized, “Oh well no wonder, I’m in NASHVILLE!!!  Of course there will be live music everywhere!”

 

I was waiting for Abingdon, and as I was standing there, I looked over and thought, “That looks like a lady pilot! Oh wait! That’s Abingdon!!!” Right away I got to meet not only Abingdon, but two other lady pilots, along with four other guys who were also pilots.  That flight was full of pilots coming to the conference.

 

Before I go on, let me tell you real quick about Abingdon.  She is an amazing young lady whose passion is ferrying airplanes (which means flying an airplane to get it from one place to another…usually when someone has bought the airplane and wants it delivered).  That is a pretty neat job, but it gets even more amazing when she tells you that she’s flown Bonanzas, and SR-22s among other smaller-ish planes over the Pacific Ocean!  “You know all of that stuff you learned about weight and balance?” she asked me, “you throw all of that out the window!” They put extra fuel tanks in the cabin of the plane, and Abingdon said that in one plane, she had to crawl over all of the fuel tanks in order to get to her seat, which was a space just big enough for her…there were fuel tanks all around her.  This means of course, that you are carrying far more weight than is usually considered safe…but she’s done it multiple times and loves it!  She also flies for a regional airline right now, not to mention has a pretty neat watch company, and is just a fun person to be with!  It was wonderful having her has my ‘tour guide’ while I was at the conference and I got to meet so many neat people because of her 🙂  She put out an email to her newsletter list, prior to the conference, telling people that if they saw us at the conference to come and introduce themselves and tell me what they do in aviation.  I got to hear so many stories!  It was amazing!

 

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

Once we got to the hotel, Abingdon realized that she was supposed to be at a board meeting right then, so I spent most of the afternoon just exploring this massive hotel, the Gaylord Opryland Resort. It’s the most beautimous hotel I’ve ever seen. The rooms overlook the indoor gardens and shops. There’s waterfalls, a river, a riverboat cruise, and full size buildings inside two or three (or more?) huge greenhouse buildings. The weather is always perfect in there and everything is SO beautiful and so nice.  I was overwhelmed…in a good way 🙂

 

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

When I’m in a new situation, I tend to be shy for a while before I warm up enough to feel comfortable talking to strangers. I started wondering how on earth I was going to be able to meet or talk to anyone. I knew NOBODY other than Abingdon, and I had only just met her!   While I was walking around taking it all in I told God, “This place…and these people…are WAY fancier than I am!!!” But I felt God telling me not to worry about it and not to fixate on it…”You’re supposed to be here, and I want you to enjoy ALL of it!”.   And oh my goodness did I ever!  He also reminded me of this quote by Lance Wallnau, “Don’t think of it as ‘fake it til you make it’ but ‘be it till you see it’.” I finally decided, “I am a pilot. I am supposed to be here. There’s no reason I can’t ask questions, and I’m not being a bother to anyone.” 🙂

 

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

That night, Abingdon and I had dinner at a little Mexican restaurant there. We had so much fun talking, plus people who knew Abingdon came up to say hi, and I enjoyed meeting and talking to all of them as well. Abingdon and I went to sleep around midnight and I never fell asleep so quickly and slept so well!

 

I did NOT need to worry about not meeting anybody….God poured favor all over me…dumped it on me, soaked me in it and made me swim in it. It was like I was a celebrity…Abingdon even teased me, “You’re a rockstar!”  Lol!  I had a BLAST!

 

The next day, there weren’t any sessions, but that morning was the ‘new members coffee’ so we met some more people there, including a girl named Nichole with Cape Air, and she told me about some training opportunities with them.

 

I got to meet Betty…a very sweet lady!  She gave me my registration in person…Abingdon was teasing me that I got special delivery and took this picture 😉

 

Betty and I  (Betty is wearing another one of Abingdon’s amazing watches!)

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

Later on the exhibit hall opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony, and then I spent the rest of the morning and most of the afternoon walking around talking to airline booths and other people.  This is where I really began to walk out of my comfort zone.  I stepped outside of it, just a tiny bit, by starting to ask a few people questions, and then I had so much fun that it made it easier to approach the next person, and the next, and the next…it just kept getting better and better.  To the point that I who am usually so quiet around strangers, was having a blast talking to those strangers…and turning those strangers into friends.  It was amazing and one of my favorite days.

 

I walked all around asking the airline companies questions.  I’d ask them what their requirements were, if my incident of denting the wing would be a problem with getting a job with them, if a degree was required, and also, if they’d let me wear a skirt uniform. I had SO many interesting conversations, and EVERYONE is so helpful and encouraging and supportive there. There’s an energy of everyone being excited about the same thing, and everyone wants to help 🙂

 

The Gaylord Opryland Resort was beautiful during the day, but magical at night!  The gardens were all lit up!

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

A lot of the airlines and pilots I talked to said that my incident wouldn’t affect my getting hired. Of course I’d need to tell my potential employer about it, but they’d see how much time had passed since it had happened and they’d ask what I’d learned from it and it wouldn’t be a problem.

The general consensus was also that a degree made you more competitive in getting a job. A few said that if the company could see that I was a well-rounded accomplished person it shouldn’t matter. I was talking to a guy named Travis from JetPubs, and told him my thinking on getting a degree…”I don’t want to spend the money and time to go to school just to get a piece of paper…I want to fly!”.  He told me he could completely relate to that, but he thought it was a good idea to do it anyway 🙂  He also completely understood my situation about not having an abundance of money and it being hard to pay for flight training as he had been in the same situation. He encouraged me when he said that success wasn’t about money, but about passion and perseverance, “and you have it” he told me. He was also super encouraging that I’d build up hours quicker than I thought, that I could totally do it, and that “it’ll be here before you know it.”

 

I also told him how I knew I was blessed because I pay quite a bit less for my flight training since I’m part of a club, and Travis was amazed. “What?!!! What!!! Back in the 1990’s we were charging more than that! You are in a good place! You’re in a really good place!” 😀  I also told him about how my flying club had a neat group of people, airline pilots, corporate pilots, pilots who’ve flown for presidents, crop dusters, etc, and he again said, “You’re in a really good place!”

 

I would have to agree!

 

Maybe the most fun question was asking them if they’d let me wear a skirt as part of the uniform. Nobody knew right away, which I didn’t expect them to, because almost nobody does it (one lady said she saw a United pilot wearing a skirt once.) But everyone was positive about it, would seek out other people to see if they knew the answer, and one lady even got my info so that she could email me and let me know when she found out. Generally they’d say, “The short answer is ‘no’, the long answer is ‘yes’.” On one hand there is the safety concern, on the other hand there is a lot of pressure for companies to accommodate people in their religious beliefs.

 

I have two thoughts about the safety part.  The first thought is that most people have not grown up with a skirt, and so perhaps it’d be more hazardous and less comfortable for them to wear one.  I do everything in a skirt….ride bikes, horses, climb ladders, drive tractors, and a lot more things.  I guess you learn to think about where your skirt is like most people think about where their arm is, lol!  My second thought is that I am well aware that I don’t understand everything that is involved with being an airline pilot, not to mention them being responsible for my safety. But however that will shake down when I do finally get to an airline….it was a very fun conversation to have wherever I went!

 

I had talked to a couple of Delta pilots as well…and found out from other pilots that Delta is the considered the “crown jewel” of airlines 🙂  Later, I was across the way at the Pratt and Whitney booth, and an very pretty African American lady with a stylish red hat came over from Delta and introduced herself.  I had told them that it was a Delta pilot who encouraged me to start flying. She had heard that I had been by before, was very friendly and asked if I had any more questions, and congratulated me on winning the scholarship.

When talking to Delta, they introduced me to a pilot named Bailey from Endeavor.  As I was talking to her, a friend of hers named Jessica came up and I found out that she was a corporate pilot.  Jessica told me, “Did Bailey tell you that her first name is Jessica?!” (she goes by her middle name).  So of course I had to get a picture of the three of us “Jessicas”!  I really, really enjoyed talking to them both!

 

The three “Jessicas” 😀

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

Later that night at the opening reception, I was sitting visiting with a couple of ladies, and I got to meet a lady from Canada Air who came over and said, “I haven’t had a chance to congratulate you on your scholarship yet…” and she introduced herself. It was also as if she had gone out of her way to do so…and I wondered why.  I told you that God poured His favor all over the place!

 

I walked by the WASP booth and made some friends there.  I walked by their booth again another time, and was looking at these neat bracelets they had, and the lady in charge came over to me and said, “I would LOVE to give you one of these bracelets…” and then told me to pick one out.  I later went to the session where two WASPs told their stories.  Even in their nineties, those ladies are still spunky!

 

Ladies at the WASP booth

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

One of them told how she married a pilot after the war.  “We were poor, but we budgeted so that we could fly once a week,” she said, “my husband and I spent a lot of time arguing about who was going to fly the plane.  Then I got pregnant, so that took care of that!” 😀

They also told a story of flying back to their base after “strafing” the soldiers, and they saw some of the guys in a Jeep.  She decided to dive-bomb them and they just kept driving and waved.  “Oh that made me so mad!” she said, so she turned around and dived even lower, causing both of the guys to jump out of the Jeep and wave a white flag in surrender. 😀

The WASP bracelet I picked out 🙂

WASP

 

On Thursday I was also presented with my scholarship. There were some ladies from Ghana there that were the newest, and also the 101st Women in Aviation chapter. The president of their chapter asked if she could have her picture taken with me, and then the whole chapter wanted to! 😀   They were such sweet ladies!

 

My First Women in Aviation Conference

I later met a girl named Christilyn who said she saw me receive my scholarship, and she said, “I saw you walk up there with this big smile on your face and a sparkle in your eye and I thought, ‘I like that girl! I want to meet her!’” Lol! 😀  Christilyn is quite the accomplished young lady who has her CFI and MEI certificates (flight instructor for both single and multi-engine planes).  I want to be like her when I grow up 😉

Christilyn and I

My First Women in Aviation Conference
An older lady told me that she met a girl at the conference who just got her Private pilot’s license or was working on it, and the lady told her “Oh honey, this is for people looking for airline jobs!” (which it isn’t), then the lady saw me get my scholarship and heard my story, so she went back to the other girl and told her about me. The same lady later told me that she sat by a mother and daughter at the banquet, and the daughter was working on her Private license. The lady told me, “So I told her about you, and it encouraged her!” 😀

I met a girl named Danielle Williams who goes skydiving all of the time 🙂  She received the Wings for Val scholarship to aid her in getting her Private pilot’s license. I then saw her after Tracey Curtis-Taylor’s talk and she said hi, then she told me, “I follow you on Instagram” I said, “You do?!” She said, “Yes, you’re Jolly.Jessica, right?” “Yes!” She told me that she saw my posts leading up to the conference and that my posts were encouraging.

 

Alice and I…another fun girl I met who is also working on her Private license.

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

I also met Samantha Reed who is part of the Indiana Dunes Ninety Nines chapter.  I belong to the same chapter, but I hadn’t met her yet as I am a new member, and she is in college right now. We got to talk for a bit, and she told me that she was about to take her Private pilot checkride. I was telling her about my checkride story and flight training, and when we parted she said, “I’m really glad I got to talk to you…it encouraged me!”

Everyone had been SO inspiring and encouraging to me, I was so glad that I could be an encouragement to someone else 🙂

 

 

My First Women in Aviation Conference

Have you heard of Tracy Curtis Taylor?  She’s an amazing lady!  She followed Lady Heath’s flight from Cape Town to London in a Stearman.  Then she followed Amy Johnson’s flight from the U.K. to Australia.   You can read her story at her website Bird in A Biplane. She is a very fun and very neat lady…I enjoyed the little bit of time I got to talk to her, and of course I asked if I could have my picture taken with her 😀

Her session was one of my favorites, hearing about her dream to follow Amy Johnson’s flight, and the stories she has from along the way.  Like when she circled a beautiful mansion before landing, only to have the air traffic controller very upset with her because she had circled the Ugandan president’s palace. He was so upset, he slapped down a picture of our Twin Towers burning on 9/11, and she realized that he was concerned that she could have done the same with her plane.  She told us in her British accent, “I’m flying a biplane…I could barely take out a picket fence if I tried!” 😀

After inadvertently flying into restricted airspace in Zambia, another controller was very upset with her. “This may all be very well and fine in the U.K.” he told her, “But here in Zambia we have safety regulations!!!”

It was also very touching to hear about how the little girls in some of the Middle Eastern countries were so taken with and inspired by Tracy.  Two little girls came up to her, trembling with excitement and were just so amazed that Tracy had flown the airplane. Then they said, “…..but you’re so old…we’d think you’d be at home resting!” 

 

Jessica Cox is another amazing lady.  Born without arms, she is the first person to earn her pilot’s license by flying with her feet!  She spoke during one of the general sessions, and if listening to a lady who flies with her feet isn’t inspiring…I don’t know what is!  “Desire is more important than talent.  When you have desire, you can do anything.” -Jessica Cox

Jessica and Jessica 😉

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

Another lady I got to meet was Martha Phillips, president of the Ninety Nines!  I joined the Ninety Nines the day I got my license, and I’ve had so much fun with them, so it was neat to meet the president of this organization.

 

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

It turns out I DID know someone at the conference that I had met before 😀  Air Racer Helen Hagg came to one of the Ninety-Nines meetings with Margaret Wint to share about their Air Race experience back in February.  It was fun to see a familiar face at the conference.  Helen’s goal is to be a missionary pilot, and she not only has her license, but also has her A&P (aircraft mechanic certificate).

 

Abingdon, Helen, and me

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

One evening, Abingdon and I were talking to some people, and Abingdon told them about how I had won her scholarship, had just got my private, what I wanted to do, etc.  Then one of the pilots said, “Wait, I want my friends to hear this story…this is amazing…” and he brought a couple more guys over, and they loved the story as well.  I was talking to the first pilot and found out that he was poorer than poor as a kid…immigrated with his mom to the United States, and became a Marine. He kept telling me, “You can do this. Money can be overcome. Don’t let anyone tell you no…go for it.”

 

Another guy named Sam walked up and said, “I’m not trying to be awkward or anything, but could you tell me about your religion?”  Yes, absolutely!  This was a topic that came up quite a bit…I could tell that people were trying to figure out how I fit into aviation 😀  “I don’t know if I’ll still be here at Compass when you’re ready to get into the airlines, but if I can help you, let me know,” he told me as he gave me his card.

I know I dress a lot differently than most women do, but I’m not always thinking about it, and tend to think of myself as being “just like everybody else”.  I get asked a lot wherever I go if I’m Mennonite or Amish, so I’m used to it, but I didn’t really think about how MUCH I’d stand out at a conference like this.  People would ask me, “So how are you connected with aviation?” and I could see their wheels turning 😀  One lady asked me, and she said, “I love the Lord, too!” ♥

 

So many people told me, “You are getting into this at the perfect time. Your timing couldn’t be more perfect.” Because of the upcoming pilot shortage and then there being such pressure for gender equality.
Also, lots of people told me that those 1500 hrs that are required to get a job with an airline will “be here before you know it. It seems like a long way off, but it will go fast!”

It does seem like a VERY long way off!

 

One girl who is in the military stopped me and introduced herself.  She said, “I just gotta tell you, you are like the coolest chick at the conference!”  I happen to know that there were “way cooler chicks” there than me, such as herself, but it totally made my day anyway 😀

 

I had read about how the conference was so good for “networking”, but I saw and experienced it myself in amazing ways.  I went thinking that I was going to learn the most in the seminars that they offered at the conference, but I learned FAR MORE just through the hundreds of people I got to meet and talk to.  I made so many friends!  A flight attendant from Louisville told me that if I was ever in the area to give her a call and she’d take me out to lunch 😉

 

Abingdon took me around to the different socials and receptions one night that each organization has…the ISA21 (airline pilots), WCA (Women in Corporate Aviation), Young Professionals, and AWAM (Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance) were the ones we got to go to.

 

Young Professionals was for college students, but I snuck in with Abingdon 😉 I met some neat girls there, including one who is an artist. She asked what I did and I told her about my virtual assistant job, and she’s an artist and looking for someone to help with branding and website design, so she got my info 🙂

 

My First Women in Aviation Conference
We were getting ready to leave, and Abingdon said, “Have you met John and Martha King?” I said, “No, I haven’t!” so she introduced me to them, and then John King says in a big voice, “You’re dressed differently from everybody!!! Why are you different?!”  It was hilarious! I tried to quickly explain why I dress the way I do, and he said, “I always say that the highest compliment I can pay to anybody is to say, “You’re not normal!” I laughed and said, “I enjoy not being normal” and he replied, “I can tell!” It was so much fun talking to them!

 

I sent Ted about 2 or 3 pictures a day, usually with another famous person I had met, and after I sent him the picture of me with the Kings he teased, “Maybe it would be easier for you just say “who you haven’t met.” 😀

 

 

At ISA21 I met several airline pilots.  This is what I want to do eventually, so it was great to get to talk to people who are already living my dream 🙂

 

My favorite reception was AWAM, which is kinda funny, because I don’t want to be in maintenance. They were such a fun group, though! That’s where I met Travis from JetPubs who really encouraged me, and the whole group was just FUN!

The next day Robin Lamar, who is a past president and co-founder of AWAM, came up and introduced herself. She said, “I really wanted to meet you the other night, but didn’t get a chance to. I just wanted to say that you just FIT with the group, and we would love to have you as a member!” Then at the banquet she was talking to me again, and then when she left she threw me a kiss, lol!

Me and Robin

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

I also met Brian Bolt who is on the Women in Aviation board, and talked to him for a little bit in the exhibitor hall. Later at the banquet he came over and congratulated me again and said, “I was just talking to Abingdon and telling her I really enjoyed talking to you earlier.”  The lady sitting next to me said, “Wow…I want to get my picture taken with you!”  Lol!

 

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

I got to meet Ashley Schappert and her little girl, Ella.  Abingdon was telling me about Ashley and Ella, then she said, “Have you heard of Jason Schappert and MZeroA?”   Yes!  I had!  I’d watched some of his videos when looking up some things on YouTube during my flight training.  Ella is so so adorable!  They were in our hotel room one day, and I came in and put my bags and phone on the bed.  Later, I was looking at my pictures and found a couple of blurry ones that weren’t of anything in particular.  Then there was this perfect little selfie of Ella’s face!  I laughed…that picture made my day!

 

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

At the last general session, they had several speakers, and one lady, Pia Bergqvist who writes for FLYING magazine, was telling her story. At first I had zoned out a little bit because I was a bit tired, but then I started realizing that she was describing my start in aviation. She was 29 when she began her flight training, and had just had an interview on Sept. 10, 2001 with an airline. She ended up not flying for the airlines due to the terror attacks on 9/11, but her story was an encouragement to me. Plus, she likes writing…like me! 🙂

I really wanted to meet and talk to her after that, but I could not remember her name even to ask Abingdon about her.  “Jesus, you know who she is…could you help me find her?  I want to talk to her!”

Later, I walked up to Abingdon, who was talking to a lady, and somewhere in the middle of the conversation I looked at her name badge and realized it said that she was executive editor of FLYING magazine.  This was the lady I was looking for and God just ‘dropped’ her right in front of me, lol!

 

Pia and I

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

I stopped by the Bell Helicopter booth and had so much fun telling them that Larry Bell was born in my hometown. One lady asked me to send her more info 🙂

 

The very last night was the big formal banquet, and all of us scholarship winners, past and present, got to sit together.  This year marked $10 million worth of scholarships that they’ve given out over the time that Women in Aviation has been in existence.

When all of the past and present scholarship winners were standing up on the stage and I saw Jessica, a corporate pilot, Bailey, an airline pilot, Abingdon, Deborah Hecker, and all of these other people, it was such an encouragement to me that they too, were once in my position, and they are all where I want to be one day 😉

 

Abingdon and I, after the banquet on Saturday

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

 

On the last night of the conference, Abingdon and I stayed up late visiting with people again.  We visited with some of the AWAM group again, and I met Aaron and his wife and they both work for Alaska Airlines as mechanics. He gave me his card and said to tell him if ever I’m in Washington state, and he’d give me a tour of the whole facility! Oh yes!!!

 

I stayed up all night because I didn’t want to miss out on any of the fun, and I had to get up at 3:00 a.m. anyway to be ready to go to the airport by 3:45. I talked about taking a nap, but my friends from AWAM said, “No! Don’t do it…you’ll oversleep!” As I was leaving to go pack at 2:30 a.m., they were teasing me, “Don’t go to sleep, Jessica! Stay awake!!!”

 

Leaving Nashville…before we climbed into the clouds.

My First Women in Aviation Conference

 

I had to take a taxi to get to the airport…my first time taking a taxi EVER! There was another pilot waiting, and he asked me, “Are you going to the airport?” I said yes, and he asked, “Do you want to share a taxi?” Yes, please!  Because I don’t know what I’m doing! (Only I didn’t tell him that!).

 

He asked me how I was connected to aviation and why I was at the conference, so I told him that I had just gotten my Private pilot’s license and had won this scholarship. He asked if I wanted to go further with it, and I said that I did…I wanted to fly jets! 😀 So he was encouraging me, and we talked about flying all the way to the airport. He said that he had come to the conference for the job opportunities, and said he had noticed me, “Because you stand out” 😀

 

Once we got to the airport, he said, “Let me pay for the taxi.”

 

 

I usually do NOT sleep on airplanes.  Who wants to waste a good flight sleeping?!  I want to see what is going on!  But I was so tired, I started dozing before we even took off from Nashville.  I woke up enough to enjoy the take off, but was back to dozing.  We were flying in the dark, and in the clouds most of the time, so I guess I didn’t miss too much!

Abingdon, thank you! SO VERY MUCH!  You gave me the gift of a lifetime, and I will remember it forever 😉

 

My Pink Sunset Jackie watch.  I wear it all day every day…mowing the yard or going to church…it doesn’t matter, lol!  Her watches are so durable, and absolutely beautiful!  And it is a constant reminder to me of how God loves to delight us.

The Abingdon Co

 

That whole week was a huge encouragement, and also a huge confirmation that I am where I am supposed to be.  It also reinforced that God is a GOOD Father who loves to delight His children.  I tend to think of God as being a good Father in the sense that he takes care of all of my needs…but He goes above and beyond that.  I didn’t need this trip. I didn’t need a fancy watch 😉  But He is just so good, He fills your cup, pressed down, shaken together, and running over!

 

There is nothing you need that He cannot provide.  And He will most definitely make provision to accomplish the dream that He has put in your heart.

 

jessica

 

 

 

“I will deliver and cause you to inherit and possess abundant riches and splendor.  It will be delivered to you like a gushing, galloping, overwhelming torrent. It comes through Me, and I will pour out this splendor and wealth with abundance.”  Isaiah 66:12 (paraphrase)

 

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My First Women in Aviation Conference
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11 thoughts on “My First Women in Aviation Conference

  • July 12, 2016 at 12:09 am
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    Your dresses are very pretty in all the pictures!
    Did you make them all?
    I enjoy being “different” and “not normal” in clothes too!
    I really like this blog 7 sisters! My family has 6 sisters and two brothers! 🙂
    And I share a a different thing I like with all of you girls!

    Reply
    • July 14, 2016 at 9:23 am
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      Thank you, Auria! Yes, I do make all of my dresses 🙂
      That is so cool that your family is a lot like ours 😀 Thanks for commenting!
      -Jessica

      Reply
  • July 20, 2016 at 10:02 pm
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    Wow Jessica! I ran across your post on FAST and found my way here! I can completely see how people are drawn to you! God is so good and he is using you in an amazing way! Keep flying (literally and figuratively)! FYI, I’ve never subscribed to a blog, but I’m so excited to check this one out! Yay! (Going to go “love” your FB post now!)
    -Jacque

    Reply
    • July 20, 2016 at 10:20 pm
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      Thank you so much, Jacque!!! God IS so, so, so good! He is always surprising me and amazing me in ways I never imagined! ♥ Jessica

      Reply
  • July 21, 2016 at 4:29 pm
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    Seriously you are just soooooooooooo ENCOURAGING.
    I love your heart, I love your passion, I love how you receive all of Gods promises.
    I love that you never give up, I love that you share your stories with us.
    Reading all these has me soo excited and fired up and awake and i am just like if Jessica can pursue her dreams too so can I. You have encouraged me not to give up, not even a tiny bit 😀

    I would love to know more about virtual assistance/ what else you do. I need a lot of help with my business.

    THANK YOU (Just want to give you a big hug..hehehe)

    Reply
    • July 22, 2016 at 11:40 am
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      Oh my goodness, Amen! Thank you for your comment…it put a big smile on my face! I’m so so glad it could encourage you ♥
      Visit my website http://jessicaerichardson.com to see my web design and virtual assistant services 🙂 -Jessica

      Reply
  • July 25, 2016 at 3:19 pm
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    Looks like you had a good time. Congratulations. I love your blog.

    Reply
  • August 22, 2016 at 6:24 pm
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    I love reading your blog updates and am always excited when there is a new one 🙂 I don’t even remember how I first found your blog but it has been at least several years since I did. You all seem so genuinely happy and joyful and I find it contagious as I always leave your site in a better mood! I admire you for pursuing your flying career, it makes me think about the things I want to be doing but am just too afraid to. God Bless, and keep the updates coming!

    Reply
    • August 24, 2016 at 8:24 pm
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      Thank you! I’m so glad that our blog makes you happy 🙂
      Keep trying new things!! I love one quote I read that said, “Do it afraid if you must”. I’ve been afraid lots of times. Not afraid to actually fly, but afraid of things possibly not working out, of stepping outside of my comfort zone and talking to strangers, and all kinds of other things 🙂

      -Jessica

      Reply
  • November 2, 2016 at 5:33 pm
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    I’ve read your blog over many years. I’m so pleased to see a young Conservative Christian woman (and a Hoosier to boot!) striving to be a professional!! What an inspiration to others! I hope you go on with your training–check out Indiana State University–there are lots of Christians, too. I’ll keep watching the blog. I’ll buy a ticket when you fly commercially. I promise. Well done.

    Reply
    • November 19, 2016 at 8:16 pm
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      Thank you, Lisa! 🙂 -Jessica

      Reply

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