Friday’s Fabulous Flyer
| Stearman at EMAM|
The Women’s Air Race Classic
is getting ready to take off from Pasco Washington on June 18. And today we meet a racers. Not just any racer, but Juliet is part of The Wunder Woman Team. She is also an American Airlines Pilot, and a woman who had no easy task of making her dreams come true.
The world is sprinkled with people who have vision, clarity, and determination. But how many of those people also have the ability to keep going even life continues to put the chocks under their plane? Juliet’s story is one of conviction and determination. And as you read the events that transpired across this fabulous woman’s life, know that there is nothing you cannot overcome and surpass if you work hard enough for your dreams and never give up.
It’s my great pleasure to introduce Juliet Lindrooth. (And her planes)
|Stearman at EMAM|
“Early on in my life I knew I wanted to fly. At the age of
three, I informed my parents that I was going to be a pilot when I grew
up. There was a little pat on the head, smile, nod and a “sure honey”.
My resolve never faded. Every Halloween, I dressed in some sort of
flying costume and went out with my friends. At the age of 15 my father,
who was a United Airlines Pilot, finally asked me the question I had
been waiting for my whole life—if I really wanted to really learn to
fly. I jumped up and screamed, “yes!”
|3000 going for a flight at EMAM|
Could I really do this? Could I really learn to fly? A few days
later, I took my first introductory flight. My Uncle had taken me up
once when I was 13 in his Cessna 172 and my Dad had taken me up in a
helicopter, but had never actually flown an airplane. So there I was, 15
years old, sitting in a Cessna 152 and learning to fly. I didn’t even
know how to drive a car yet, but I was learning to fly. The feeling was
|Stearman in grass at EMAM|
Back at high school, the boys quickly became either awed by my pursuits
or intimidated by my passion for flying. When they asked me out, my
response was, “thanks, but I’m going flying after school.” I soloed on
my 16th birthday. I think I was way too excited to be scared. At 16,
most kids don’t understand the risks. I know I didn’t. It was just a
dream come true to take that plane up by myself. I never wanted that
instructor in the plane with me again. What a day.
|The champ returning from barnstorming|
A few days later I got my drivers license. That was in 1979. I had to
complete my cross-country flights and practice for my check ride. Sadly,
the fuel crunch of 1979/1980 put a slowdown on getting my license when I
turned 17. But I had determination to get it done. So just before I
turned 18, I had my private pilots license. Now I could take my friend
flying with me. And so we did. A couple of teenagers in an airplane.
Wow, thinking back on it and as a mother of four grown kids, I don’t
know if I would have let my kids go up in an airplane with other kids. I
wouldn’t even let them drive with other teens in the car. But then
again, airplanes are safer then cars.
|Barnstormer in farmers field.|
By the time I graduated high school I had my instrument rating. Then I
was off to college. I couldn’t afford college and flying, so I put the
flying on hold. I had a plan. Get a degree, get the rest of my ratings
and get a good airline job. I had a life plan. Four years of college, a
degree in Business Administration, 5 years working for Xerox to pay for
training and get my ratings, two wonderful children, five years of
flight instructing, three years at the commuters and one failed marriage
later, I landed at American Airlines. What a journey. I met the love
of my life and married my best friend and inherited two more wonderful
|Bathtub at EMAM|
There still was something missing. I had always vowed to fly a GA
airplane across this country. I’ve flown airliners back and forth
thousands of times, but to do it low level, slow and in a single engine
airplane was one of my life’s bucket lists. Then tragedy struck. I was
severely injured in a car accident on the way to work.
I’m the poster child for flying is safer than driving. I was only ¼
mile from the airport. I was told that due to the nature of the injuries
that my flying days were over. For eight years I fought my way back to
health, and convinced the FAA that I really could fly airplanes again.
Despite the FAA, AMR medical and most of my Doctors telling me that it
was impossible, I didn’t listen. 8 years and two days later, I was
sitting in the cockpit of a 757 getting my IOE for American Airlines.
I was back!
|To Vail |
Now, getting back to my goal of flying across the country. The accident
experience taught me that we don’t know when our last day will come. So
now I’m committed to getting my bucket list done. It’s funny that for
every item I check off, two more seem to appear. Oh well, I’m having fun
getting the list done. I never want to run out of adventures. Isn’t
that’s what life is all about. So right after I got my medical back, I
decided to return to the 99s. And there I met the sister I never knew I
had, Mary Wunder.
While we are not really blood sisters,
we seem to be life sisters. She was leaving for the Air Race Classis
shortly after we met. Wow. That sounded fun. What a way to cross off two
items on my list at the same time. Go on an air race (powder puff
derby) and fly a light plane across the country. Being fresh back a work
that first year, I couldn’t take the time off to go, but I promised
Mary that in 2013, I would be her race partner. We are looking forward
to spending two weeks on a grand journey together. I’ll be bringing my
|Barnstormers in the farmers field|
In the meantime I have been busy working on the other items on my bucket
list. I am now flying international, going places have always wanted to
experience. I have been to Barcelona, Madrid, Milan, Rome, Zurich,
Paris, Manchester England, Brussels, Rio de Janeiro, and lots of little
Caribbean islands. I have flown into St Martin. This is the one where
the airliners come in right over the beach and everybody stands a few
feet under our landing gear and watch. They hang on the airport fence
when we take off and get blown into the ocean from the jet exhaust. I
don’t understand why they do it, but there you have it. I use each trip
as a mini vacation and see the sights that each country has to offer.
It’s a perfect job for me.
|Rocket at EMAM|
Additionally, I joined the National Ski Patrol, skiing all winter, and
in the summer time I volunteer at the Eagles Mere Air Museum in Eagles
Mere PA. There you will find over 30 vintage airplanes. Some are one of a
kind. Some are representative of the airplanes that the women of the
first Power Puff Derby flew across the country. One of the museum
buildings is dedicated to women and their roles in early aviation. Eagles Mere Air Museum
is one of our main sponsors for the air race. On Sundays, you will find
me flying some of those grand airplanes for the crowds. You can’t
believe the reaction I get when I pull off the leather flying helmet and
the crowd sees a woman. It’s fantastic.
|My office the alps|
I can’t wait for the Air Race Classic. The views from the Mooney are
going to be fantastic and the journey across the country twice, is going
to be fantastic. We are taking the northern route to get out to Seattle
and the southern route back home. The race starts in the Seattle area
and ends in the Little Rock area. I hope to meet some fantastic women
along the way and make tons of new friends.
So why am I doing
this? Apart from my bucket list, the grand adventure, meeting wonderful
likeminded women, spending two weeks with my best girlfriend, I want to
show and encourage women of all ages that flying can be fun, rewarding,
and that you really can have it all and do it all.”
Juliet, thank you for sharing your story with us. You are an inspiration
to the world of aviation, and to each person reading this—especially
me. At some time or other each of us will all face a set back or two.
Life problems will jump in our path. But far too often those situations
are used as reasons why we didn’t fulfill our dreams, instead of
opportunities to prove to the world we can do anything. You are not only
the poster child for why flying is safe than driving, but also for “I
can do anything—just watch!” Best of luck with your continued airline
success and may the American merger go smoothly!
else, please share your thoughts with Juliet and your support for her
success in the first race. I have so many questions about these
wonderful planes. And next week, we will meet the other half of “The
Enjoy the journey!
Thanks so much for sharing this story Karlene and Juliet.ReplyDelete
I saw so much of myself in you when you described those first few flight lessons. Just like myself, you were flying before driving! I'm now 16 years old, able to fly solo, but am not legally allowed to drive solo! It's crazy how things like that work out!
Reading this has been a highlight moment of my day. Seeing how you recovered against the odds, only to sit in the cockpit of an AA757 is incredible! It totally motivates me, showing how lucky I am to be in the physical health I am. I have my heart set on flying, just like you, and I know there will be roadblocks.
What your story has shown me is that the barriers I have/could face are nothing in comparison to the injuries you sustained. That humbles me greatly.
Thanks so much for sharing your story, keep checking off that bucket-list!
Thank you for your kind words. Please keep flying and dreaming. Only if we dream big do big dreams come true. So never stop dreaming or trying. I just walked in the door from a wonderful trip from JFK, NY to Barbados and back in one day. Almost 11 hours of flying. We had a three pilot crew. All of us were women! It was a fantastic flight. I hope to see you in one of my cockpits some day. Keep it going.
Thanks so much! Sounds like an amazing flight. Hope all went well and you had fun!Delete
I hope our paths will cross someday! Have a great Easter!
Now that's determination, I love it! Best of luck to Juliet in her race.ReplyDelete
That is an incredible story of courage and perseverance! Thank you so much for sharing it!!ReplyDelete