I was the kid that grew up with model airplanes hanging from the ceiling. Every night I would look up at them, and during the day my step dad used to take me to get cheeseburgers and sit at the end of 26L at KIAH and watch the planes land. My step dad is fully my dad and I consider him my father, but the only reason I make the distinction is because when my biological father was alive, he took flight lessons and wanted to get his private pilot’s license. He stopped after he met my mom, but to this day I still have his headset and log book. I was three months old when he passed away, and three years old when my mom married my new dad, Kevin. Kevin’s passion for aviation ignited my fire as well, my mom didn’t stand a chance of us not flying! We build homemade simulators, went to airshows and took picnics to the airport as often as possible. He is truly the reason that I got into aviation in the first place.
When I was in middle school my dad finally saved up enough money to attend flight school. He started taking lessons and studying vigorously every evening. The hours kept adding up and he was ready to solo, but wasn’t able to because he hadn’t got his medical yet. Twenty years before he’d had a heart transplant, but the school assured him that it wouldn’t be an issue to get his medical. So, he kept spending more and more on lessons, but was finally denied any chance of flying because of his transplant. He still kept watching the airplanes and flying on the simulator with me, but that was as far as his dreams could take off at the time.
Fast forward four years, I was in high school. My dad’s health began to decline, and we found out that he was going to need another transplant. The trips to the airport became fewer and more spread apart, and the simulator sat empty. We almost lost him. That was when I started to fly. In case the absolute worst happened, I wanted to be able to take him flying and fulfil his dream. The day that I soloed was one of the best of my entire life. We were at Galaxy Flight Training at KCXO, and the staff allowed my dad to sit at the end of the ramp in his wheel chair to watch the flight. The look on his face afterwards is one of my favourite memories to this day.
I completed my private and instrument at Galaxy in Houston, then when I went to college completed my commercial at Floris Flight Services in Midland, TX. While attending college and taking lessons I also worked at Signature Flight Support as a CSR. This was an excellent way to network and meet people in the industry. It was through that job that I met pilots who encouraged me to turn my hobby of flying into a career and honestly, I can’t imagine doing anything else. After completing my multi commercial (ATP Houston), I got a job as an observer/relief pilot for KCSI, an aerial patrol company. During this time I would also flight attend on a Falcon 900 and take as many right seat flights as I possibly could.
From there, I took a position flying a Saratoga and right seat in a Citation V. After 2 years with the right seat job, I was going take a position flying a Pilatus, but when I told the aircraft owners that I had accepted a job elsewhere they asked me to stay and run the flight department for them. It’s hard to turn down an opportunity like that, so after three years here I am, flying as the captain for our Citation V and King Air. I run the Part 91 flight department for them and just hired a second pilot who is a joy to work with. It’s a dream job, working for amazing people that treat my family like theirs, having a co-worker that I get along great with and flying fun equipment. My dad has gotten to fly on both the Citation and King Air with me and my husband gets to frequently go on trips with us. I truly consider myself blessed, and would like to stay on the corporate side in the future if it is available.
I’m not very good at social media, but love to post pictures and videos of the aviation lifestyle on my Instagram, @Captain.Christina. It’s been a great way to connect with other pilots and hopefully inspire others to follow their dreams as well. I’m grateful for every person and experience in my life, both the good and the bad because it led me to where I am today.
Remember, every trial is an opportunity to better ourselves.
Blue skies and tailwinds to all of you, and I hope you all achieve greatness!
Captain Christina has amassed a large social media following. Check out her great content.