A Chick in the Cockpit
My Life Up in the Air
By Erika Armstrong
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome aboard your flight. As you step onto my aircraft, take a quick glance into the cockpit. Yep, that’s me sitting in the captains’ seat, and that’s my first officer laughing about how he accidentally locked himself out of his hotel room. Naked. Again.
We’re both a little ripe from flying for the last five days, but we’re still smiling because we have spent years and thousands of hours training and living an uncommon lifestyle to be up here for you.
For the next few hours, you have to turn your life over to us. It’s hard to trust others, and there are moments when you don’t have a choice about being in control. During those moments, you’ll just have to tighten your seatbelt and trust that others will get you through the storm.
Our route today will take you through a segment of my life up in the air, and you will see things you could never imagine. Since I have been locked in the cockpit with men for several thousands of hours over the years, I have been given a perspective few get to experience. To help you see a different perspective, too, I am giving you a checklist to use as we move along our route. It will take you from gate to gate, and when we’re done we will have both learned a little more about what it takes to fly.
Now…just sit back and relax. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
About the Author
With twenty-five years in the aviation industry, Erika Armstrong has experience in every aspect of aviation. From the front desk of an FBO, to the captain’s seat of commercial and corporate aircraft, Erika has had the best view in the world. She is currently an award-winning staff writer for Colorado Serenity Magazine and her professional pilot columns can be found at Disciples of Flight, NYC Aviation, Contrails, Flying, LinkedIn and Business Insider. Erika owns Leading Edge Aviation.
Erika’s website: www.achickinthecockpit.com
Reviews and Accolades
“In the rarified atmosphere of flying, Armstrong’s memoir of life as a female pilot gives us a fascinating glimpse into a world where men still rule. But it’s her write-from-the-gut style of story-telling and the unexpected turbulence she meets, not just in her career but in her personal life, that will captivate you. A Chick in the Cockpit is at turns riveting, informative, and break-your-heart funny.”
~ Lee Woodruff – NY Times bestselling author of In an Instant; Perfectly Imperfect – A Life in Progress; Those We Love Most; contributing reporter for CBS This Morning
“Captain Armstrong writes like she flies, smoothness and professionally. She brings to her work originality and humor which is rare in aviation literature. Her success flying the ‘heavy iron’ for the airlines is a must read for any woman considering a career in aviation or facing the challenges of balancing work and home.”
~ Darcy Vernier, 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses, ATP, CFI, CFII, BA, and Erika was my captain at Champion Air
“Captain Armstrong’s powerful message of keeping sight of ourselves and our own hopes and dreams is a winner.”
~ Dorothy C. Westby, Captain, Boeing 727, retired, Artist, BFA, MFA
Refreshingly smart and funny. Capt. Armstrong isn’t afraid to show her humanity and her humiliating moments, and demonstrates deep courage and conviction. Figuring out how to ‘have it all’ is an ongoing question in most women’s lives.”
~ Kristen Moeller, MS, Author of Waiting for Jack
Reading her work reminds you, just in case you forget, that life is about fun, even though we have to live through some despair. Through tragedy we sometimes find meaning.”
~ David Lazaroff, Author of Live It Up!