We are proud to have female students at LIFT Academy who are serving as role models for future women in aviation. Jany Anderson and Katie Ross spoke with us about what Women’s History Month means to them and their experiences as female pilots.
Question: As we are in Women’s History Month, I am excited to be sitting down with two women in aviation to hear about your experiences in the industry and talk about what this month means to you. To take right off, tell me about yourselves!
Katie: I’m Katie Ross! I’m from Maine, and I moved to Indianapolis to begin my flight training at LIFT Academy.
Jany: My name is Jany Anderson. I’m from New Jersey, and I graduated last May from Stockton University with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. I love to travel, so when I’m not flying or studying, you’ll find me exploring new cities with my friends.
Question: What better way to make travel part of your career by becoming a pilot! So here you are, where are each of you in the LIFT Academy program?
Katie: I am finishing up my commercial license, learning more advanced skills to prepare for a career in the airlines.
Jany: I’m currently awaiting my instrument rating check ride! I came to LIFT with my private pilot license and started here on the instrument course which I actually just graduated from.
Question: I would love to hear about each of your aviation journeys. What inspired you to start pursuing a career in aviation?
Katie: After finishing college, I spent the summer working with my friend’s dad who owns Fletcher Mountain Aviation, a scenic seaplane touring business in the Katahdin area. After spending the summer around planes, I knew it’s what I wanted to do! After getting my private pilot’s license in Maine, I made the move to join LIFT Academy.
Jany: I have a lot of roots in aviation. My grandfather was a B-17 pilot in WWII and later became an Eastern Airlines captain. My father just retired from United Airlines as a 777 captain, and my older brother is currently a First Officer at Republic Airways. In high school and college, I took flight lessons at Big Sky Aviation in Millville, NJ as a hobby. It wasn’t until I started my first job out of college as a financial advisor that I realized I really wanted to pursue aviation as my career. The highlights of my week were always the time I spent outside of work learning how to fly, so I decided that the sky was where I belonged. When I learned about the pathway LIFT Academy offers to Republic, it sounded perfect to me because I could expedite my flight training and land at a reputable regional airline much quicker than if I continued training at a Part 61 school.
Question: It sounds like both of you caught the aviation bug from being around it! How special that you share your love for aviation with people in your family. What made you #FlyWithLIFT and what has been your favorite part?
Katie: I chose LIFT Academy because of the people, and that has been my favorite part by far! I love being surrounded by encouraging people who are working towards the same goal.
Jany: I decided to #FlyWithLIFT because of the resources, location and support that they offer. LIFT has a community of pilots who are all on the same journey. We support one another through our written exams, check rides and everyday operations. It really is a great feeling to know that everyone around you wants to see you succeed because they were once in your shoes. Not to forget there are so many teams invested in our progression through the program that are available for us all of the time. My favorite part so far has been the friends I’m making along the way. We are building a network of pilots who we can count on for the rest of our careers.
Question: As you know, March is a time to recognize and celebrate women across the board, but what does Women’s History Month mean to you?
Katie: To me, it’s about recognizing the accomplishments and successes women have made. In any industry, it’s important to have role models to look up to. Women’s History Month is about highlighting female role models and sharing their stories so the women after them can see that it’s possible to do anything.
Jany: Women’s History Month means honoring all the female trailblazers whose paths were foraged through tackling challenges like discrimination and led us to how far we have come. It also means empowering and encouraging women who continue to do so today. As a female pilot, I’m inspired by all the women whose passion for aviation allowed them to break into this male-dominated field and allow girls like me to have this opportunity.
Question: Is there a female figure in your own lives, aviation or otherwise, who inspires you?
Katie: My biggest inspiration is my older sister Maggie who is a Nurse Practitioner. She’s the one who taught me to go after my dreams and be fearless.
Jany: My biggest inspiration would be my mom, who came from very humble beginnings and showed me that an attitude for success is key to accomplishing your goals. My mom immigrated to America from Honduras in her twenties, and I was so lucky to see her jump every hurdle that came her way, like learning English, becoming an American citizen, raising a family in a land far from anyone she knew, and being a confident independent woman during times when my dad was on trips for work. She set an example of self-assuredness that is key to becoming a woman in aviation. I am also inspired by two of the most famous female aviators, Amelia Earhart & Anne Morrow Lindberg because not only did they pave paths for women to pursue aviation, but they wrote about it too. By sharing their stories, they got the conversation started, sparking a movement for girls to follow suit.
Question: Having been inspired by other women in aviation and female figures in your life, you will now inspire future generations of women. What would you say to a young girl or woman considering a career in aviation?
Katie: Aviation is such a welcoming and supportive community, and worth checking out. My advice would be to get involved at your local airport or find local aviation clubs like Women in Aviation.
Jany: My advice for females considering a career in aviation is that anyone with a great sense of determination to follow their dream can learn to fly. As a woman in the field, it’s important for us to expect nothing and everything all at the same time. There isn’t anything that’s holding us back from getting our licenses, but it’s also not going to be any easier. Expect every challenge that comes with becoming a pilot and face it head on. My journey so far has been fair and nondiscriminatory, and I can thank all the female pioneers who have made this possible for me. There really has never been a better time to be a woman in aviation.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, we are grateful to have the opportunity to share the stories and experiences of two inspiring female pilots, Katie and Jany, from LIFT Academy. Their journeys in aviation not only highlight the growing opportunities for women in the field but also emphasize the importance of determination, support, and role models. As we continue to honor the accomplishments of women in aviation, we hope their stories will inspire future generations of female pilots to chase their dreams and soar to new heights.