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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, March 7, 2014

Pilot: Melissa Huffman

"The sky isn't my limit.... 
It's my playground."

December 7th, 2012 Melissa Joined us as a Friday Flyer, with an interest in Aviation. Today she is soloing. It all started with introductory flight. This is what Women of Aviation Week is all about. Giving the gift of flight to women by providing the opportunity to take a flight. All it takes is one flight and you know if the sky is for you. 

I asked Melissa to tell us how this all started and give us an update...

"So.. Back in the summer of 2012, While working at the ups store in town I met a gentleman who had a very nice truck who visited the store right next to ours. I eventually went and told him one day how much I loved his big two toned Dodge power wagon. We started talking and I noticed his Lawrence Co. Aviation / Grissom airport hat and asked. He gave me his card and said he was the Airport Manager.

I had never been to the local airport before, So one day I made it out there and got a tour of the place and was offered a cleaning job once a week at the airport. Well after that I became an Airport bum, hanging around and talking to pilots and meeting so many people.

On Thursday morning's Magic morning bakery in town donates donuts for the older pilots that all gather out at the airport every Thursday for donut day.

So after being around the airport a while Mr.Ray Sexton, The airport manager asked me if I would like an intro flight....Well I couldn't say no. I had never flown at all, not even commercial. Being one of six children in my family we always drove. Plus.. Mom hates to fly.

So on August 8th 2013, I had my first intro flight that started my love for aviation.
When I came back I was grinning from ear to ear. saying, Why have I never done this before! It was amazing :]


And as of today I have 31 Hours 
and am so ready to get my license!

I soloed October 8th 2014, and It was AMAZING! and one thing for sure... I'd been told over and over again that the plane would take off so much quicker without my instructor, It sure did. And it was also harder to get the plane back down too haha.

I was jumping up and down hugging everyone when I got done, Happiest day of my flying so far.

My Grandpa, Joseph Huffman Who went to be with the Lord July 5th 2011, He flew P-51 Mustangs in WWII and was also a Squadron leader.

My uncle still has all of his pictures and papers from the war and my favorite His Pilot's Log book. Which after looking over more and more he flew locally after the war in Danville, IL at the Vermillion county airport, and I found one of the planes he flew, It's located at Evansville Airport here in Indiana :]

I contacted the owner and he was so excited and actually had the paper written copy from the FAA of the paperwork on the plane. It was completely redone in 1999.

He said when the weather gets nice I will have to come get a flight in it with him.

I am so glad I took that intro flight... My life has changed in so many ways. I'M FLYING AN AIRPLANE BY MYSELF! I never ever thought I'd be doing this in a million years. And I absolutely love every minute of it. It is definitely a challenge for sure between bi-polar Indiana weather, Money and other issues you face in flying. But I have such an awesome support system between my parents, family, friends and the local 99's. And most of all the airport Manager Ray who has helped me in every way possible to help me on my journey to getting my private license.

I think that Everyone should take a flight in a smaller aircraft.. It's amazing, changing.

And to anyone who say's no way could I ever fly a plane.... Just try (and I thought I wanted to be a nurse). To all the ladies out there who think flying is just for men... Well, let me tell you. It is NOT just for men.

I had a wonderful time at the Women in Aviation conference last year in Nashville,TN. I met so many female pilots and those who are involved in the aviation community. It was my first conference and will definitely not be my last.

Thank you to Karlene for helping me along the way also. You are such an inspiration to me and I am so glad we have crossed paths.".... Melissa, you are welcome! And THANK YOU!!!

Take someone flying today. 

You may just open the skies to the rest of their life! 

Fly It Forward!  
Find a location that is giving free flights 

If you are in the Seattle area, join me at the Seattle Museum of Flight on Boeing Field. We are flying girls for two days! 


  1. Hi Karlene, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

    1. Thank you so much! I just checked out your blog and looking forward to retirement too! Grandkids are precious. My eldest will be six in April and then down to 2 months old. (7 of them) But I started with the three girls.

  2. What a fun story. And heck yes, for so many of today's young flying students and pilots that IS how the passion begins. BEst wishes to this young woman!! -C.

    1. Thanks Craig!!! She will get the best because she certainly working hard for it. Keep flying strong Melissa!

  3. WTG, Melissa! I am very happy to hear that you solo'ed. I am sure it was an amazing feeling to be up by yourself. I am glad that you were able to make connections and network as that is an important part of becoming a pilot. Lots of continued success and thank you Karlene for featuring her once again!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment Jeremy. Yes, It's so fun to see the progress of our flyers!

  4. Well done Melissa.You are an inspiration to everyone,well done girl.You are so lucky to have a nice friendly local airport.
    I can think of nothing nicer than a summers day,the drone of piston engines & the smell of avgas.
    Well done again.

    1. John, you are so right about the friendly local airport. We so need more of those in our world. Thank you so much for your comment!


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