Trans States Partners with Women in Aviation to Promote Aviation as a Career Path

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Did you know that only 5% of all pilots are women, and less than 2% of aircraft mechanics are women?  Women In Aviation International (WAI) aims to change that.  WAI is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of women in aviation career fields.  One of the organization’s top priorities is encouraging young women to consider aviation as a career.

Traditionally a male-dominated field, aviation is a career path that women often don’t consider unless they’ve been previously exposed to it, such as having a parent who is a pilot.  Since so few girls are exposed to aviation as a potential career opportunity, they usually have a different career path in mind by the time they reach their late teens.  “Aviation tends to be family-oriented,” explains Laura O’Brien, President of the St. Louis Chapter of WAI.  “The culture is usually something that you’re brought into in some way.  Very few people stumble onto it themselves, and we want to help change that.”

One of the ways that WAI aims to narrow the gender gap in aviation is by exposing girls to career opportunities in the field at a young age.  WAI’s annual Girls In Aviation Day provides girls ages 11-16 opportunities to learn about aviation-related careers through hands-on activities and demonstrations from aviation professionals.  Over 74 WAI chapters around the world hosted local Girls in Aviation events this year, drawing over 9,700 attendees.

At this year’s event in St. Louis, over 100 local girls learned about aviation career opportunities with over 20 organizations, including Boeing, the Air Force, and Trans States.  One of the event’s most inspiring guests was 13-year-old student pilot, Olivia Fabisoff.

Private aircraft company JetLinx graciously allowed their ramp to be used for static aircraft displays, allowing the participants the opportunity to see private jets and Medevac helicopters up close.

JTrans States hosted a luncheon for participants at our corporate headquarters in St. Louis, where pilots and flight attendants were on hand to talk about what their jobs are like and how they got to where they are today.

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Be sure to save the date for next year’s Girls in Aviation Day on October 13, 2018!  Click here to find out how you can get involved.

Former Marine Turned Aircraft Mechanic and College Student: Meet Brandi Rector

Brandi Rector
Trans States Airlines Aircraft Mechanic Brandi Rector

Before becoming a aircraft mechanic for Trans States Airlines, Brandi Rector spent six years in the United States Marine Corps as a helicopter aerial gunner and mechanic.  Now she dedicates her time to ensuring that our aircraft operate safely and efficiently, all while attending full-time classes at Saint Louis University.

Brandi didn’t originally plan on an airline job when leaving the military.  After her last deployment, Brandi returned home to St. Louis with plans to become a police officer. However, she soon found herself back in aviation after being hired by helicopter manufacturing company Sikorsky. “It was a desk job,” explains Brandi, “and after coming home from my deployment, sitting at a desk all day was making me stir crazy.  Then I learned about Saint Louis University’s helicopter pilot program.”

Saint Louis University, in partnership with Midwest Helicopter, offers a helicopter training program that can be paired with any undergraduate degree. Brandi began the program in the fall of 2015, and is set to graduate in the spring of 2018 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Aeronautics, with a focus in Aviation Management.  When she graduates, she will also be an FAA-certified helicopter pilot, with private, commercial, instructor and  instrument ratings.

While Brandi receives much of her academic funding through the G.I. Bill, it doesn’t cover everything.  Luckily, Brandi had earned her Airframe & PowerPlant license while in the military, which enabled her to  supplement her G.I. funding by becoming a Trans States Airlines aircraft mechanic. There’s no danger of Brandi going stir crazy from sitting behind a desk at this job – she’s up and moving throughout her entire shift. As a heavy check mechanic, Brandi performs scheduled inspections on aircraft once they reach a certain number of hours.  “We perform top-to-bottom aircraft checks and inspections on everything from oxygen masks and engine components, to flight control cables and hydraulic systems,” she explains.  “We check everything to make sure the aircraft continues to stay safe for flight.”

Brandi enjoys the variety that her job brings.  “In the Marines, I worked strictly on engines and gear boxes,” she said.  “But at Trans Sates, I get to work on everything.”  She went on to remark, “I’ve got to say, I really enjoy my job.  Everyone that I work with is incredibly nice, friendly, and helpful.”

Brandi is busy, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.  “It’s tough,” she says, “but it doesn’t matter if I don’t have much free time, because I love what I do. I feel rewarded knowing that all the work that I do provides safety for so many people who travel, and I feel accomplished when I make straight-A’s after studying so much and so hard.” Brandi also emphasizes the importance of having a strong support system.  “My dad provided a lot of encouragement that helped me when I needed it. So, no matter what you decide to do, make sure you have the support you need.”

When she’s not working or studying, Brandi has several animals that she enjoys taking care of. “I’m working on building a barn right now,” she explains, “which will be for my horse. I also have two huskies, and I recently rescued a kitten.”  She also became a member of Women With Wings, the St. Louis chapter of Women in Aviation, in April. “It’s a great group for networking,” she says,” and they’re starting to do a lot more charity events.  After I receive my instructor rating, I’ll hopefully be able to pilot some charity flights for them, as well as for the Whirly-Girls, an association of women helicopter pilots.”

We’re proud that Brandi has chosen to share her talents with us, and we couldn’t be more impressed by everything that she’s accomplished.  If you’ve got an A & P license and a desk job isn’t for you, give us a call.  We offer skilled maintenance professionals like Brandi top-tier pay, and we pay extra for experience.  We’d love to talk to you about everything our company has to offer.  Click  here to learn more.