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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Amanda Sargent

Friday's Fabulous Flyer!

 Amanda Sargent

Fabulous she is... she's funny and brilliant too! She sent me her bio last night at 10 p.m. while I was busy being a sleep camel--- storing up on my sleep for the next round of exhaustion, and she made this easy. 

"I was born in Bolivar, Missouri at a very young age... the youngest and cutest of three, and the only girl. I'm sure my mom was ecstatic to put girly things on me but that was very short lived. When I was about two years old, my dad bought a Piper Tri-Pacer and I was strapped (willingly) into it. There are no pictures, and I have no way to prove (or disprove), but rumor has it that I was perched high on my booster seat holding onto my dolly as my dad did whooptie-dos and barrel rolls. I had a smile on my face the entire time! It was probably in those first flights which defined what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Dad's plane with Brothers

My family and I (and the plane) moved to Bremerton in the late 80's. 

I thought everybody's dad had a plane... and then a few years later, he sold it. Life just wasn't the same and I just had to find a way to fly again. My teachers can attest to my dedication of keeping my dream alive as I'm sure they were sick of seeing reports about flying, space travel, planets and the Wright Brothers. Even my Mt. St. Helens science project had aerial pictures that were taken from my dad's plane. In 1999 I started fixed wing lessons part time at Bremerton airport, but that was short lived when the flight school closed. (Shhhhh, don't tell my friends I've flown planes. I have a reputation to uphold, ya know!) :)  I started again at Tacoma Narrows in the Summer of 2001 and got about 35 hours with 11 hours solo.  We all know what happened  in September, which in turn forced that flight school to close as well.  

Another few years go by without any progress towards my dream of flying, I heard an ad on the radio about a helicopter academy.  I couldn't call the number fast enough to get information.  I hadn't ever thought about flying helicopters before and like many others, figured you had join the military to do it. I attended the seminar and took a demo flight and felt an overwhelming sensation.  I knew that THIS is exactly what I wanted to do. It all made sense so I signed up for flight school, moved 5 minutes away and completed my CFI in 18 months. My first instructing job was at Tacoma Narrows airport. One of my favorite maneuvers as an instructor is to teach students how to hover... something they couldn't do just 10 hours before. It's an incredible feeling to know that you've had an impact on someone's life in such a short time.  In true Amanda fashion, my flight school filed bankruptcy and I was once again looking for a job.

Knowing that it might be awhile before finding another flying job so I went to school at Green River Community College in pursuit of an Air Traffic Control Degree. While attending GRCC, I got a job as an intern at the FAA in Renton in the Planning & Requirements department. One major accomplishment while working for the FAA was winning the "Most Creative Paper Plane" award at the annual company picnic. (I'm sure this prestigious award will get me far...) :)  Just at the end of my degree program and internship, I received a call from Ichiro Seshima, Chief Pilot/Owner of Classic Helicopter, asking if I would be interested in working for a flight school again. "Yes!!!" was the only answer. I started in October 2009 as a flight instructor/tour pilot/administrative assistant/VA administrator/ Drug and Alcohol supervisor/marketing representative/etc.  I wear a ton of hats, but enjoy  the variety and challenge.

Evan's Creek

I've flown my fair share of tours, but flying kids and girls of all ages are truly my favorite.  I've heard "whoa, our pilot is a girl" so many times that it hardly phases me anymore. Growing up, I never had a thought that I wasn't cut out to be or good enough to be a pilot, but realized that it's still not 100% accepted so it's kind of funny to hear the surprised comments from customers. That's why I'm participating in Fly it Forward at Renton Airport, what a great way to end the year by sharing what I love and inspire girls for 2011.

First Solo

Greg Baker donated some hours to help beat Canada!  He's extremely generous with his time and talents and loves sharing the gift of flight with those that have never experienced it. I've met and swapped stories with some truly amazing people along the way and am very fortunate to be able to have the job that I do and share my love of flying with so many people.  As an instructor, I enjoy being able to spark someone's imagination when they realize that they too can fly."

Thank you Amanda for your incredible story! 

Click  HERE to see Amanda's great video of flight.

 "-After a 2 day, 1500mile XC from Seattle to Seward, AK my fortune cookie said "Avoid unchallenging occupations, they waste your talents"

Amanda has over 800 hours and about 50 "first flights" for the centennial celebration... so far. :)

Today is another day. I awoke to another 89 emails with people wanting to fly with Amanda--- but she is already booked full.

Greg Baker, from Classic Helicopter corp is donating a helicopter for three hours to support women in aviation. Thank you Greg! We'll read more about him soon.

Austin may join us if the weather warms up. Shad is helping. Jay is flying his 182 in again for day 3 of the fun. And Mark may join us for a few hours again. Mireille Goyer, the woman behind Centennial of Woman Pilots is driving down from Canada.  We have people. Blue skies. Faith. A so many flying it forward today!

Happy New Year!!!!

Enjoy the Journey--- It's been a good one!



  1. Thanks for introducing us to Amanda. She is inspiring and amazing! You've got to love a woman who sticks to her dreams no matter how hard things get.

  2. Looks like a great final day for flying in 2010. I'm grounded now....2 of my 3 club planes have problems, and the last one is pretty busy today. No New Years Eve flight this year.
    Nice work on the Centennial flying Amanda, I had a lot of fun on the 5th, and hope to do more like that!
    Good luck beating Canada, Renton is the best!


  3. What a beautiful, clear, sunny day for flying! There are so many people that were there helping and involved that I know I must owe a hundred thank-you's.

    We were lucky to get a ride with Austin in a float plane -- a first for me! We got to swap stories of our electrical engineering backgrounds. It was fun to fly with a fellow gEEk. THANKS FOR AN AMAZING FLIGHT, AUSTIN!!!

    I've also always wanted to get my pilot's license (I wanted to be an astronaut once upon a time), so -- while not the "young girl" you are trying to inspire -- you might have inspired a middle-aged momma instead. :-)

    Karlene - It was so great to meet you. What an impressive operation today, given so many logistics and factors to deal with, plus helping a lot of first-time flyers with young children. You are truly an inspiration!


    Heather M (who flew with my son, Merrick, age 4.97, who says he wants to fly space ships)

  4. Amanda is fantastic. I love that part about her dad taking her up in his plane when she was so young and how natural flying was to her. No wonder she never had a question in her mind about whether flying was typical for women! (Of course it's natural!) Thanks for sharing another great profile, Karlene.

  5. Go Amanda!! It was so fun running around with you to and from the helicopter :) And here I thought you were just a rotorhead...didn't know you could fly a real airplane!! XX

  6. Thank you Heather! One day you'll meet her in person. She's just awesome! Happy New Year!

  7. Heather M., Your son is such a doll! And anyone who wants to fly spaceships deserves to fly. It was great meeting you today. Your comments are very much appreciated. Happy New Year!

  8. Thank you Linda! I do believe she was born with aviation in her blood. Thanks for the comment! Happy New Year!

  9. Kathy, isn't it amazing! I too just thought she was a rotor-head. Thanks for the laugh. I needed it.
    Happy New Year! Enjoy the beach for me.

  10. That's our girl Amanda! I hope you all get to meet her in person, she IS ONE AMAZING YOUNG LADY! as a little girl she always said she was going to be an astronaut---i think she chose a better way to go!!! LOVE HER LOTS!!! She speaks so hightly of all of her flying friends! it is interesting to hear all the stories!!! Phylis Sargent

  11. Some people just sparkle like stars. Amanda, you are one of these people and a damm good helicopter to boot. Thank you so much for waiting patiently for us last night. What a flight! A helicopter certificate is now on add-on list.

  12. Phylis, Thank you so much for sharing a little more of the story about Amanda. Yes, this is a much better way to go. I don't think she could have all this fun in space. We would be there with her! Happy New Year!

  13. Oh Yeah!!! Mireille you got to go on your helicopter flight! Double thanks Amanda. You are incredible...and yes, you do sparkle like the stars. We'll put Mireille!

  14. There are so many people to thank for everything that happened on Friday! Here’s just a few:

    Greg Baker (my boss) at Classic Helicopter/ for donating the helicopter in pursuit of beating those darn Canadians... and to encourage women of all ages to get in the air! :)

    Mireille, an amazing lady and the inspiration behind "Centennial of Women Pilots.” You’ve planted more seeds than you could ever imagine.

    Karlene, for organizing “Everything Renton”. You’ve got the knack for making things happen!

    My loaders – Jen, Katie, Megan and Ruth, for taking charge of the flight line, keeping all passengers and observers away from the “spinny parts.” We could not have done it safely without you. Keep flyin’ ladies!

    Mom – Thanks for always believing in me and providing encouragement and support along the way… and finally letting me take you flying. (You should go flying with dad… he’s not THAT dangerous!) :)

    Dad – For providing the initial spark that led me down this path. Thank you for instilling in me the importance of a good work ethic, networking and a desire to be the best. It was amusing to hand the controls over to you… instead of the other way around. Lets get some G’s soon. :) Love you guys!

  15. Amanda Thank you for a great comment. And... give yourself a huge hug and thanks for flying all day. I swear you are the energizer bunny!

  16. Is it a WHITE energizer bunny? Or a greyish bunny that we like to pretend is white, like a particular duck? :P

  17. Lindsey, I'm thinking khaki energizer bunny. It's all about the flight suit.

    A special note about White Duck-- "She is a girl because she has a blue bow." I love this little girl, and her duck!

  18. Karlene, You and your fellow pilots are an inspiration to all of us, you have motivated fellow pilots in your community, and in communities far away. Lesley has done the same in Oshawa. You have given far more than just a flight to many people, you have touched their lives, in a way that will not be forgotten. We know that feeling here in Oshawa, we make it a practice to fly approximately 500 new people each year here, between Young Eagles, Air Cadets, and just for fun flights. The potential impact you can have on a young persons life is great.
    Anytime I see a parent with kids looking through the fence at the airport, I offer to show them my plane, and if they want, a walk through the maintenance hanger. I never refuse a flight to kids ( with parents permission ) when asked.

    PS: Please add my name to your draw. I flew 39 Women this year.
    Doug Raine

  19. Thank you so much for the great comment Doug. I'm going to tell the other pilots to come and read this too.
    Have a wonderful day! And one day I'll head your way and say hello.


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