Friday's Fabulous Flyer
This is an extra special post for me because Kathy is a good friend, and I have known her for many years. We met shortly after I was hired at Northwest, and I'm coming up on my 20th anniversary this January. From reflexology in Singapore to a misplaced rental car at Hollywood Park Racetrack. Ha. Ha. With so much adventure in the middle... I miss flying with Kathy.
Kathy began flying in high school at the age of sixteen. She completed her Bachelor degree at Colorado State University, and then went on to earn all her flight ratings and licenses. She was like most pilots, and worked hard to earn money to fund her passion. Kathy was a waitress, pumped gas, and worked as a flight attendant while building her flight time. Then her first real flying job was with a coal mine, but she also a flight instructed, and flew infrared missions over forest fires. Kathy's ultimate goal: to gain the experience necessary to fly for a major airline.
She reached her goal! Kathy was the fourth woman pilot hired by Northwest Orient Airlines in 1981. She flew the Boeing 727, DC10, and Boeing 747 before earning her captain wings in the Boeing 747 a quarter of a century later. She is now retired from Delta Air Lines and lives on a wheat ranch in eastern Oregon, with her husband. Yet, she still advocates for women pilots and encourages young people to follow their dreams.
She is a photographer, artist, and an author too. She just recently published her first book, and I'm proud to share it with the world. I've been curling up in the tub, at night, enjoying the life stories of my good friend. You will love her book. For now... please enjoy the interview with my friend, a pilot, and author, Kathy McCullough, who also happens to be married with children.
Why did you write Ups and Downs?
1996, Jean, Jeff and Kathy
This is an incredible book. When did you start writing?
I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. I wrote a story about a squirrel when I was in elementary school and my paternal grandmother loved it and decided I should be a writer. She sent it to a friend of hers who proclaimed I “had talent.” What else would he say to a doting grandmother?
I took typing in high school and typed up lectures for a student at the University of Florida who was deaf. The process was tedious, and I couldn’t wait for a word processor instead of a typewriter with carbon paper and white out! I started lugging a “portable” MAC computer with me on trips, so I could write on my layovers in Japan at 3AM when I woke up.
I'm so glad you stuck with this. What made you finally pull the plug and just do it?
Kathy with Joe Sutter
I know you have been working on this for ages. What advice can you give other authors?
Get help! I put different versions together and had sample copies published just for me, but there were so many mistakes. I finally pulled the plug and paid an editor to proof and layout my book. He was awesome. I think you use him too. :)
Yes, a huge shout for our editor Nathan! We have talked for hours about fears of publishing. Do you want to share with the readers your greatest fear publishing this particular book?
For one thing, I didn’t want to hurt anyone I love, and I wrestled with what to include in (and leave out of) the book. I didn’t want to appear whiny or complaining, and I also didn’t want to get sued, even though everything I wrote is true. There were many revisions along the way, and many times I put the book away and decided to forget it.
Kathy and Ron Hietrietter
I am the Communications Chair for the International Society of Women Airline Pilots. Our newer members with regional airlines are three to four times more qualified than I was in 1981, yet major airlines in the United States are still hiring 95% males. They say it is because they are only getting low percentages applying, yet I know there are thousands of qualified women. I decided it was time to come forward and yell “foul.” Enough is enough, and it has to stop.
Kathy, Ellen, and Jeanie
Thank you Kathy!
I know your book will be a huge success
Just as your life is
Supporting our Fly it Forward events!
Jean, Jay & Kathy (NWA Captains) with their favorite Second Officer.
You can buy Kathy's book
on Amazon by clicking HERE
Enjoy the Journey!