I am Kelly McDermott Davies and received the 1991 Judith Resnik Scholarship from American Flyers. The scholarship provided me with my Flight Engineer and Airline Transport Pilot Written Ground Schools.
In 1991, I graduated from Northwestern State University of Louisiana with my BS in Aviation Studies. I was a CFI/CFII working on my MEI and felt I needed help taking the last few written exams in a formal setting. I had a dream to become an airline pilot since I was 5 years old.
At the end of 1991, I was at the right place at the right time which is key in aviation. I was giving ME Instruction and ferrying light twins around the Caribbean and noticed a little airline named Sunaire Express. I had 800 TT and 100 Multi Engine. (most of the 100 hours ME I flew around on one engine teaching so it’s funny it counts as multi-engine). I was offered a position as a First Officer on a Twin Otter DHC-6. I had just turned 22 and was living my dream flying 1200 hours a year, landing on the sand and doing up to 18 segments a day. I was fortunate to make Captain a couple years later.
In March 1994, I was hired by Atlantic Southeast Airlines and flew the Bandarante E-110 and E-120 Brasilia. My dream came true when United Airlines called me for an interview in March 1995. I have been with United Airlines for nearly 18 years now having flown the 727, 737, 757, 767 and A-320/319. While my 21 years as a member of the Airline Pilots Association has been tough at times, I can not imagine a more rewarding career. I have seen the most amazing things and worked with great people I respect. I have received world class training and every once in awhile I look outside on pushback and am so excited still I’m about to go fly.
I still think about receiving the Judith Resnik scholarship after all I have accomplished. Being chosen and honored by American Flyers gave me confidence. It told me that people believed in me and were behind me supporting me! At this stage of my career, I think this was just as important as receiving the ground school. Receiving a scholarship in the name of such an accomplished woman is an honor to this day. I have an idea how hard Judith had to work to become an electrical engineer and space shuttle mission specialist. I skipped school to see both of her shuttle missions being an avid fan of the space shuttle and still remember it’s first mission when I was in the 6th grade. Women like Judith told me it was possible for girls like me to aim high and that dreams come true.
Thank you, Judith, for the example you set and many thanks to American Flyers and the committee that makes these scholarships possible for young women helping them financially and telling them their dreams can come true.
Paige “Kelly” McDermott Davies