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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, May 27, 2011

Christine Hollingsworth Friday’s Fabulous Flyer!

“Alias Sherlock”
I'm a Private Pilot!
And fabulous this lady she is. She flew into my life on December 5th 2010, which also happens to be her birthday, when she joined us at our first Fly it Forward event in December. She was down at the dock flying in our famous Beaver… while a birthday cake awaited up at BEFA headquarters. Yes… she got a piece. 173 women flew that day. I didn't have time for cake or the opportunity to get to know Christine, but that certainly has changed.  

That was her 20th birthday, but you would never know it. She has the youthful look and exuberance of someone quarter her age, and the skill, talent, and wisdom of someone twice my age. She is funny, passionate and loves planes and anything to do with aviation. 

She was born in Henderson Nevada, but has lived in Las Vegas her entire life. In the fall of 2009 she moved to Tacoma, Washington, to attend UPS, and has lived on campus until May of this year.

She started out majoring in English with a minor in communications, but recently changed her major. Why? Well, sometimes plans change when you realize its time to follow your passion.

“I was planning to be a book editor. ‘Funny how that worked out for me.’ It didn’t take long before I realized analyzing older literature didn’t appeal to me, and after taking a class in communication, I knew I would never be able to go any further in it. It was my least favorite class that semester. This January I officially made English my minor and switched my major to computer science, hoping for a big change, and I got it. It’s tough, but I like the logic of it, and there is actually a lot more creativity involved in programming than there appears to be on the surface. My real career plan is to be a pilot, but if for some reason that doesn’t workout, I would like to be able to work on the navigation and glass cockpit systems of airplanes. Anything related to airplanes.”

Funny how her initial career as a book editor worked out for me, too. I’m smiling all the way to getting published. She is a fantastic editor! She’s got it figured out, and knows what she's doing. And her writing… wow. How did Christine ended up being my editor? I read her blog and told her she should be a writer... her words sang on the page. That's when she told me about her training, and I asked if I could hire her to edit my books.

Editing is a perfect job for Christine because it works with her life and schedule. Attending college full-time and taking flying lessons while working is no easy task. She needed a job that could be flexible. She's currently taking other manuscripts too.

More talent...

Christine has been in the band since fourth grade. She plays mainly the clarinet, but her “real baby” is the bass clarinet. She says, “It’s under-appreciated for how stunning it sounds.”

Where did she get the nickname Sherlock?

“My best friend, Kristen, and I were both in the pit orchestra for a musical at our high school. We had nothing to do while our teacher was working with the brass section, and she told us to look for parts that weren’t being played and figure out what to do with them. For some reason, thinking of going on epic searches for missing musicians, the first thing that came to mind was, “You mean like Sherlock Holmes?” and Kristen yelled, “I want to be Watson!” So ever since, then we’ve been Sherlock and Watson. It was before the movie came out, too, so that was ten times more exciting for us.”

May 14th... deep in thought... what is she thinking?

Back to Flying…

Christine’s dad is a pilot too, though not professionally. He holds instrument and multi ratings and flies high-performance and complex aircraft. You could say her dad inspired her and taught her good study habits. When Christine was learning to read her dad was getting an instrument rating at the same time, so she ended up helping him study by reading "huge" words that she didn't understand. That would be short lived. 

Christine with dad Jim

One of Christine’s first flights, with her mom and dad, she remembers her mom accidentally opening a window while they were in the clouds and it started snowing in the plane. "I screamed because I thought I was going to drop my stuffed Simba out of the window, and secondarily that we might die. That kind of leaves an impression on a child.

She remembers her dad taking her to Oshkosh in 2001, when she was ten years old. The first plane she really noticed was the C-17, Globemaster, parked in the middle of the ramp. She pointed to it and said, "I want one!" 

Flying in these early years wasn’t something that she thought she could do. In fifth grade glasses found their way to her face, and she thought pilots had to have “perfect” eyesight. She also said, “I was told fairly often that girls didn’t fly airplanes, and so it didn’t grab my attention for a long time. I turned to horseback riding instead. This is Velvet, my Czech Warmblood and sweetheart.”

In 2009... back to Oshkosh they flew, and this time it opened Christine’s eyes to another world.

“The airshow on Saturday was an all-woman pilots show, and it was one of the greatest things I ever saw. I wanted to start flying once I got home, but since it was just before we were about to send me off to my freshman year of college, it got pushed to the back burner once again.

P51... another dream plane

This year I decided to go for it. I started at Northwest Aviation College at the end of September, flying out of Auburn Airport. Everything started out smoothly, but my training hit some turbulence so to speak, because I ended up scaring a total of four instructors away into new jobs in just seven months. If you want a new job inside of three months, just go flying with me. The only catch it has to be related to the word “Alaska,” whether it’s moving there or flying for them. Or being from there and moving to Vegas like Emily Hiller did. One of my classmates in commercial ground just got a job in Alaska, so apparently just sitting next to me long enough has the same effect.”

Her future!

What is her favorite thing about flying?

“Being in control of everything. I can go out and preflight a plane, get the weather, figure out the weight and balance, fill it with fuel, fly it to the coast, eat lunch, and come back with time for a touch-and-go at SeaTac without somebody needing to tell me what to do or how to do it.”

“I’m not naturally a confident person, but flying and spending time around other pilots in general have helped me relax and learn what I’m really capable of doing. My instructor, Jesse, and I are in an ongoing race to see who can land at SeaTac more often. He’s ahead of me by two now since he was going with me, but I’ll catch up.” 

Not the hugger, but Jesse made an exception for his favorite student!

The funny thing is… I have been based in Seattle for 10 months… and I’ve landed at SeaTac twice. I think Christine is up to five landings now, and she just got her private license! I'm losing the SeaTac landing race.

Her biggest struggle?

“Convincing people I’m a pilot despite the fact that they just watched me land smoothly, nail the first taxiway, and park outside the restaurant at Hoquiam. I’ve heard a few instances of guys having issues with girls who fly, but I haven’t really been around it enough to experience much of that personally. The best thing you can do is arm yourself with knowledge. I’m planning to become an instructor, and I’ve seen a few guys who have problems taking lessons from girls, but really, if you can’t show them you know what you’re doing, they’re not going to change their minds about it just base on your gender, well, do we really want more people like that flying anyway?”

First Flight as a licensed Pilot with Karen

No! We don’t. And… in general aviation, I don’t remember ever flying with any pilot who didn’t want to fly with a girl. In addition, I’m meeting more men who say their best instructors were women.

Christine is a member of the Ninety-Nines, an association made up of women pilots. The Seattle 99 chapter has been incredibly supportive and understanding of Christine's attempts to accomplish flight training while in college. They recently awarded her a $2000 flight training scholarship. How did she get this? She made herself stand out. Which I attest is an understatement in Christine’s case. Her suggestion for other people to get scholarships is continue with your training beyond the private license. "You'll have a better chance if you can prove you want to use the money to reach your goal and then start giving back to the people who made it possible."

Emily Biss, Boeing Test Pilot and 99 honored Christine

What does a woman who is passionate about planes do? She hangs out at the airport! She joined me to watch our friend Hannah take to the skies in a B-17~

Hannah and Christine

She also volunteers to help out when she can. She joined me at our fly it forward events. December 5th she flew a Beaver on floats. A Happy Birthday it was.

December 5th Christine flies my favorite plane~

Our May 14th flying event was a filled with fun in the sky for her. She flew the Cirrus… when she wasn't kissing it. Seriously I think they’re having a relationship. 

Yeah, she says she was testing the stall warning... but I know better.

She did some aerobatics in the Citabria… her suggestion: "Definitely try to find an instructor with a good aerobatic plane and do some spins at a point fairly early in your training. It's good to be able to recognize what they look like so you won't get too disoriented to save yourself if you do end up in one unexpectedly."

Christine with Rochelle... she didn't even puke when they went upside down

She helped out friend Amanda Sargent take a helicopter to Paine Field for General Aviation Day. Christine got to fly the R44 for free as long as she helped load people all day while she gave rides. "It was totally worth it."

Ready for Take off!

Christine is an only child, but her family appears to be growing."After being at flight school for seven or eight months, I felt like I have a whole other slightly dysfunctional family. I've started to understand that my time with them can be rather limited, though, as people cycle through the school on a regular basis, so I'm trying to enjoy it as much as I can."

Dysfunctional family did this to her shirt when she soloed.

You will always be a part of my family, Christine. I’m so glad to know you and work with you. Soon we will be flying together, too. I see a purple plane in our future. Thank you for keeping the passion of flight alive, and motivating me. Last night I did 4 landings in a Cessna. :) 

If anyone wants to discuss flying, being a woman pilot, or anything plane-related in general, leave a comment on her blog: Sherlock Holms Flies Planes Too 

Also... for any writers who want that polishing touch on your manuscript,  please email Christine at  She will edit your book, too. Trust me, she is outstanding.

Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene


  1. The Cirrus and I have an understanding: I let other people fly it (sometimes), and it lets me drool over the Dreamliner without getting jealous. It knows it has a special hangar in my heart. :)

  2. Wow what a story! It's great to finally get to 'meet' Christine! I'm seeing a purple plane in your ladies future as well. ;)

  3. If she loves flying and wants to work both in programming AND flying.. Here's a company she should check out.. (and we're always looking for programmers with aviation passion)

  4. Thanks for sharing another great woman in aviation!

  5. It takes a secure plane to not get jealous and drool over the Dreamliner. And... appears to be an excellent kisser too. Hang on to that one! Darby

  6. Christine... you are going to be leaving planes all over the world drooling. Did I say planes? I meant purple jets. So, what is your favorite plane you've flown so far. Mine is the Beaver on Floats.

  7. Hi Heather, when you come up you will get to meet her in person too. She's great! As you can tell. :)

  8. Cory, thanks for the tip! I'm sure she'll be looking soon. Do you work there?

  9. Lipo pilot... of course you know that I love this part of the week. When are you going to be a Friday Flyer?

  10. Darby, I think Christine is going to be the president of your fan club. When ever you get into trouble she's always pulling for you. Yes... she loves you. But don't we all?

  11. Favorite I've flown so far is a tie between the Citabria and the Cirrus. They're so different that I can't really say one is better than the other. I do love my little Warriors, though. They're my buddies. All six of them. I did love the Beaver, but I couldn't reach the rudder pedals and I wasn't on the throttle or anything, so it was more a lesson in holding the nose up than really flying it like I did the others. Regardless, all of these make Jesse jealous. :)

  12. Tell Jesse he has to hang out with the lady pilots... we know how to have fun!

  13. My best instructors have all been women. My instrument and commercial instructors were both men, but my private, glider and CFI instructors had both "XX" chromosomes.

    The biggest "pluses" from women instructors - lack of competition, better communications. With men, there is always an element of competition, the absolute worst was an ex-Air Force F15 fighter pilot who was so intent of showing me what a great aerobatic pilot he was, that I never went back. The best male instructors have been retired older guys.

    Right now I have Instructor "Evelyn" and Instructor "Anne" (not their real names) as I finish up my second CFI rating. When it's my turn to teach, I hope I can do it half as well as them.

  14. D.B. What a great comment! Thank you so much for sharing that. The competition gene is a huge deal breaker. Austin, our float plane pilot, feels the same. He brags about his female instructors, as do so many others. I'm not saying the guys are bad... but there is a lot of chemistry at play with instructor student relationship. Most pilots are A personalities. Get two A, male, pilots together, there might not be a lot of learning going on.

  15. Maybe not my favorite quote out of this blog, but it ranks way up there... "After being at flight school for seven or eight months, I felt like I have a whole other slightly dysfunctional family." Welcome to the dysfunctional family of aviation Christine, you'll fit right in! ;)

    I've had the pleasure of flying (a Helicopter!!!) with Christine and let me tell you, what a perfect example of enthusiasm and dedication and a wonderful addition to the aviation community.

    Thanks again for making sure folks didn't walk into the spinny parts! You'll go far, even if it IS in a purple jet. :)

  16. Thanks for the comment Amanda... Yes, she fits right in! Are you trying to convert her to helicopters? Well, I think if it flies, she's there. Purple? Better yet!


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