Contract Airline Services

"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, March 8, 2013

Denise Stecconi

Friday's Fabulous Flyer

"Yeah, I did it!"

Denise Stecconi discovered later in life that she wanted to fly.... And she is making that happen. Be prepared to read what can happen when you sit in a small plane and are invited to fly. It can turn your life upside down, and rock your world.

"As a skydiver, I had been around small planes for many years...

However, I had never given a second thought to the ride up. I am not one of those people that knew since they were 5 that they wanted to fly planes. However, three years ago, our Drop Zone pilot requested one of the skydivers to sit upfront at the cockpit (the tandems were taking more room than usual), for which I volunteered. 

 "I still see my friends when I trick them into 
coming flying with me"

I sat on the right seat of the Caravan, minding my own business, trying not to “break” anything and looking curiously at all the gauges from the instrument panel. We took off, and a few minutes later the pilot asked “would you want to fly it?” Before I could even answer, he pointed at the airspeed indicator – “if you pull on the yoke, the airspeed decreases. If you push on the yoke, the airspeed increases. I need you to keep the airspeed at 90”. I focused so hard to make that happen! 

 "One of my favorite first time passengers!"

Of course, little did I suspect, he had the thing all trimmed and all flying by itself…jump pilots can be sneaky like that. But I had so much fun, I thought I was doing a great job, that at that time, this little idea started forming in my head… what if I could actually do it? What if I could fly airplanes? I was fascinated and started always sitting on the right seat on the way up so that I could learn more. 

"Fueling Betsy"

The pilot was a CFI and started telling me about all the instruments, their purpose, and what he was doing during the climb to launch altitude. One day, I just had to go get my own lessons. So I went for an intro flight at Boeing field. The rest is history. Since then (almost 3 years ago) there has not been a week in which I have not flown.

"Are we having a good time or what?"

 I want to fly for a living. 

 "Making the most of the rain"

I want it really, really, really badly. I have a career made (I have an incredible job at one of the 4 technology giants) and a family to love and support. So, while I can pay for my lessons, I don’t always have time. The last 3 years have been a dance to be able to manage my demanding high tech job (which I can’t afford to lose), spending time with my family (which my heart can’t afford to lose), studying hard and flying (I can’t live without it). 

"Love them Airplanes"

Forget about skydiving, forget about lots of time with my friends (I now go for quality), and what was that thing called exercise?? But through hard work and some caffeine (yes, thanks goodness for coffee) I have been able to make it to my Commercial/Multi. I could not have done this if my husband wasn’t so supportive. Being a paraglider pilot himself, he understands the love for flying and apparently he is not afraid of economic hardship, ha!

"My husband Frank"

As a low time pilot (~700 hours), I am very grateful to Wings Aloft BFI for giving me the opportunity to fly scenic tours of Seattle (the Pacific Northwest is such a pretty playground!). I love interacting with my passengers. I have flown all kinds of people - from little kids, to a 70 year old lady that needed to get over her fear of small planes, since she had lost her dad to them in an accident when she was little. 


I am currently working on my CFI rating at BEFA. Aviation has given me so many wonderful experiences; beautiful sights, incredible challenges. Some days can be difficult and I can be frustrated with myself when not learning as fast as I think I should. Sometimes the future seems uncertain, the road is incredibly long and it seems even more so since I am not that young. But during every one of those discouraging times, there has always been a guardian angel (a mentor, a CFI, a friend) to help me along the way. Aviation is a “pay it forward” business and when the time comes, I hope to help others too. I think if the road was easy, the satisfaction in the accomplishment would not be the same!"

"First Solo... Bremerton"
Blue skies,

Rimrock to Ranger Creek

Denise will be flying at Boeing Field tomorrow at the Museum of Flight, Women Fly Fly it Forward event. She is giving gift of flight to others. Thank you Denise! And... remember you're not too old to come fly with me.  Did you realize you could be an airline pilot in a matter of years? Click HERE to see how.

Enjoy the Journey and see you tomorrow! 
XO Karlene


  1. This is yet another inspiring Friday Flyer! Thank you Denise and Karlene!

    From a non-skydiver's point of view, I have never understood the concept of jumping from a plane that is working perfectly fine lol!

    Have a great weekend!

    1. Thank you Cecilie! I always thought that too. But then one day someone said, "Have you ever seen those planes we jump out of?" lol
      You have a great weekend too!

    2. We jump because it is FUN! if either of you wanted to try it in seattle I will jump with you!! :)

  2. Denise is one cool gal! If she wants to fly for her bread and butter - she will. I don't know how you find these Friday Flyers, Karlene, but please - keep them coming. -C.

    1. Thank you Craig! She is so cool. I'm really looking forward to meeting her today! And... after the fog burns off... a beautiful day in Seattle. Thanks for the comment.

    2. It was such a beautiful day! :)

  3. Cool story, Denise! Happy International Women's Day! :-)

    1. Thank you Eric! Yeah... International Women's Day it is! We have a day. So cool. :)

  4. That is a great read - and - an inspiration to anyone that wants to start flying!!


Thank you for your comment! If your comment doesn't appear immediately, it will after I land. Enjoy the journey!