Our lives evolved around dreams, plans, hopes and ambitions. As I was a young teen, the fascination of seeing an airplane soar across the skies was overwhelming. But at the time, I never realized I had a little of Amelia Earhart inside me. After taking several plane rides throughout my life, I fell in love with flying. Finally, a friend and pilot encouraged me to take that passion one step farther.

I’m a true example of someone giving me the hope and desire to accomplish a real dream. One of my flight instructors, who also taught the ground school course, never once gave me the impression that I couldn’t learn to fly an airplane.

I often felt as a woman that I wasn’t as qualified as my male counterparts. But if you truly have the desire and passion to learn to fly, as with anything else, you’ll be a success. My advice to any woman pilot is to continue your dream. There really are so many opportunities in the aviation field for women today.

There are still challenges for women in aviation today, although the industry has made great strides to correct the gender imbalance. Women have earned their spot in the aviation world and it is well deserved.

I had the opportunity to receive my pilot’s license and enjoy my flying moments. There’s such peace when you’re alone in the air with your airplane. I can think of few experiences more beautiful and gratifying.

For more than 30 years, my husband and I ran a General Aviation airport. As most that work in the GA field would tell you, the opportunities and challenges outweighed the workload. My husband was the Airport Manager and we owned our own Fixed Based Operation.

We were able to keep up with everything with great joy. The highlight of those years were the meeting of so many people from all over the world. We had visitors touring the airport from Russia and Japan and travelers from as far away as Australia. We have acquired a tremendous number of friends, whom we continue to stay in contact with today.

The greatest thing you can give to anyone who lands at your airport is service with a smile. A smile goes a long way. Welcoming patrons with genuine positive feelings is an impression that is greatly appreciated.

My husband and I always worked as a team with both the airport operation and the FBO business. We both knew the requirements regulating the airport, safety issues, security issues, property management and project involvement.

A well rounded, knowledgeable team is a great asset to your operations success. It’s very rewarding to see your hard work become a reality and a valuable asset to your community. And, it always gave me a kick being a woman in aviation.

Now, we are embarking on a new journey – joining Connell Aviation Group and leading the General Aviation Program. My goal is to help other General Aviators throughout America have better communications tools so they can experience a growth in their businesses and a positive return on their passion.

If we can ever help – do let us know. We love the sky and we love helping.

Karen Connell