We’ve said it many times – we have to break our own glass ceilings before we can break THE glass ceiling. We can’t change others’ perceptions until we change our own. So how do we do this? Captain Erika Armstrong, author of A Chick In The Cockpit, believes it begins with understanding our own sterotypes that are holding us back, because this knowledge changes everything. In this episode we discuss how to stop holding back on ourselves, and how use our perspective to turn the barriers of today into little hurdles of the future – so with enough determination and momentum we can leap over them.

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Breaking Barriers To Change Perspectives, With Captain Erika Armstrong

Welcome back, Leading Ladies. We have a real treat in store for you today. Our next guest is somebody that I have wanted on this podcast since the very beginning, and we’ve even talked about it here in some of my previous podcasts. So I feel like I’m in the presence of aerospace royalty! Today, a big reveal. We have Erika Armstrong joining us. Many of our listeners will know Erika as she is the author of a Check in the Cockpit and has a huge following on LinkedIn. Erika has spent 30 years in aviation, from the front desk of a small fixed base operator in Minnesota to the captain seat of an international commercial airliner.

Erika has been a Red Cross charter, corporate cargo, hazmat, and air ambulance pilot, and she actually flew 28 different aircraft before going to the airlines. She’s also an aviation professor at MSU Denver, and is the VP of Business Development, Advanced Aircrew Academy. We’re really, really excited to have Erika here today. And as you know from my last podcast, we are switching now to have a co-host with me, who is Matt Higa, founder of Pineapple Empire and creator of the very first list of Top Women in aviation and aerospace to follow on LinkedIn. Welcome Erika and Matt.


Thank you.


Thanks, Fiona.


I’m really, really excited to have you both here.


Your accent makes everything sound better too


In England, my accent is actually not very desirable. And so I just love it in America where everyone’s like, ‘Oh, I love your accent.’


Minnesotans would appreciate listening to that with an English accent. Because Minnesotans have an accent too, we always get teased about it.


Oh, thank you. Thank you. So Erika is here today to talk about breaking barriers by changing perspectives. And so it just fits fantastically with the first question that I always ask on my podcast. What do you think of the glass ceiling? Does it still exist?


The good old glass ceiling, we’ve been cleaning up that glass for many, many years, right? So it does exist. I think now it’s a screen door. I think there’s still a little bit of resistance there. But there are ways through. And we’re all here to help you push through that – screen doors are much easier to open than glass doors. So, you know, I think there’s still a little bit of resistance there. But we’ve made such great strides over the last few years and the momentum and just even having a podcast like this where we talk about it changes that resistance on that door. So yeah, there’s a little bit there. But my goal is to show women how to get through that door easily and just begin by talking about what we’re doing right now today.


Yeah, and one of the things that I really noticed about your following is just how many men follow you too. And I think that’s really, really powerful in changing perceptions. And how have men responded since you published A Chick in the Cockpit?


You know, surprisingly well. You know, some of it’s a little bit tongue and cheek, just kind of addressing the elephant in the room, applying some humor on it so that we can have a level playing field where we can all discuss it. Because at the end of the day, most pilots, men or women don’t care. You know, if you’re a man or woman, the airplane certainly doesn’t care. So we have to get over ourselves right? Now, half of the idea of breaking these stereotypes is getting over our own. What we think of it and we stereotype ourselves, we kind of get ourselves in a rut. So you know, of all the people that I flew with, all the men that I flew with, you know, 85% of them are perfect gentlemen, they don’t really care that there’s a woman in the cockpit with them. But you know, having said that, it still takes some time for men to get used to that idea. I mean, I’ve flown with many men who had never flown with a woman for the first time. And, you know, it just is a few moments where they’re not quite sure how they’re supposed to behave or what you know what they’re supposed to do. And I, you know, I’ve tried to set the tone and make sure that they knew Hey, this is we’re doing our jobs, we love our jobs. You know, just be yourself. That’s the bottom line.


I laugh here because I grew up in manufacturing. And there’s been so many times when men have used swear words, and they’re like, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry, Fiona.’ And I’m like, ‘if only you knew what I was like, behind closed doors!’ I do have some salty language sometimes and try to stay away from it on this podcast, but not always perfect. But yeah, it’s, it’s very, very funny. And I think I love what you say about, you know, our own glass ceilings. I think one of the things that was my glass ceiling was really focusing on why am I the only one? Why am I the only one? And I know that it really does help to increase the momentum when you’re not the only one. But what really helped me was when I shifted that mindset from, I’m the only one. But hell Yeah, I’m gonna make sure there’s more women in this room, really soon. That’s my job!


Absolutely, I knew that I’d break through that glass ceiling. When I was sitting in a room full of men, just not that long ago, I was at a safety conference,and we had these breakout sessions. So there’s about 500 people attending, there’s probably maybe 30 women in the room. And then we broke out into these sessions. And there were about 200 people there. And I’ve got my notebook out and ready to listen. And then somebody leaned over to me and said, ‘Hey, do you realize you’re the only woman in the room?’ And I looked around? I’m like, ‘Oh, well, I don’t care. I didn’t even notice.’  So, yeah, you do operate at that level. And you get to that point. So it’s not a big deal.


Yeah, yeah. And Matt I’m curious, you know, you’re a guy, what’s it like for you seeing all these wonderful women on your LinkedIn feed?


That’s true. And also, it’s amazing, and awesome. However, you’re always super cool. And I mean, I made a point of building my network to follow a bunch of awesome, cool people. And that’s what I have now. So to see a bunch of women dominate the feed, when, you know, maybe a few years ago, there was a bunch of guys, especially on LinkedIn, which the demographic was tilted more that way of active users. It’s nice to see the switch up and change, it’s a lot more positive and open and transparent and authentic. So a lot of new lessons and perspectives to be learned there and kind of take back to me, to my domain.


I love that. And how did it feel to have women like Erika ranked right at the top of your list for the top 62?


Well, it was pretty crazy. I mean, first of all, it’s an honor, a blessing and a privilege to be on this podcast with the both of you. And especially Erika, since she is such a rock star. You know, I always hoped one day that I’d be, you know, running in these circles. And it’s kind of crazy to see it manifesting. And it’s happening faster and faster. So it was just really cool, because I kind of had a hunch that we’d be running into closer contact at some point after that. And like I said, it’s just a blessing and a privilege to be on here to learn and gain from each of your experiences. Almost like I’m being mentored and coached. Yeah, I keep going back to it’s my favorite word. It’s just awesome.


Awesome. Yeah, I overuse the word. Awesome. And when I go back to England, everyone’s like, ‘you’re so American.’


‘I’m proof that not only the Kardashians can get followers, but aviation nerds can too!


Yeah. I love that. So Erika, your topic today, breaking barriers by changing perceptions. Tell me a little bit more about that, and why you chose this topic.


We could spend eight hours on it. I kind of follow this pattern and the observation of this pattern because I also teach. And so I’m still discouraged that you know, out of it, 50 students that I have in my classroom, there’s still only three or four women, right? So I’m always observing, what is it about aviation that that either attracts or, you know, encourages women not to enter? So what is it that that perception that makes women think that they can’t be in it? Because we’re at the point now, where if you want to be a pilot and you’re a woman, you certainly can. I think the irony of the situation is that aviation is hard for both men and women to get into. It’s equally challenging. But what I found is that it actually becomes harder for women as we progress in our careers.

You know, we get up to the captain seat but then what else is happenng at the same tim?, We’re also starting families, getting married, all those other life experiences that happen in aviation are completely unforgiving. So the reality is, it’s not any harder in the beginning, but it can become progressively harder for women. And the burden actually falls on the rest of the family. If you decide to get married and decide to have kids. There’s things that are out of your control, because you need a really strong spouse to be that person that stays at home with the kids. And having that conversation before you start a relationship and get married is done in your mindset, you know, when you’re getting married. So just having that conversation while students are young, and getting started in the career path, and just having a conversation about it. So you know, and just changing the idea that aviation is too hard. It’s a circular story, because we’re always talking about how we can help women through these challenges? And you know, well, it’s the same for men and women, learning how to fly, their plane doesn’t care, like we were saying. So it’s all those additional resources that we need. And we’re getting there, it’s getting better. Just having an ability to reach out to other women in a group to ask questions and have conversations, real conversations. Not superficial, you know, saying, yeah, if you want to be a woman, you can do it. But actually saying, ‘Okay, here’s what you’re going to probably experience, you’re not the only one… yeah, it’s really hard to leave your newborn baby at home and be gone for four or five days. So, you know, besides being hard, there’s not much you can do about it. But what you can do is make sure you have a network and a support group to ask those questions to make it feel like you’re not the only person. And just having that will help strengthen your ability to do your job.’


Yeah, I find it really interesting what you’re saying there, because one of the things I observe is that women are advancing in the workplace, but some of the societal things are actually behind. And I remember when I got my job in America, the guy that was my boyfriend at the time, in England, his friends were like, they actually turned to him and said, ‘Well, are you okay with her’ moving to America, and I’m like, ‘It’s not his choice. And he can come with me if he wants to.’ And I was just like, so offended. Because, for me, I never really like seeing the difference, you know male, female, I don’t care. I’m a woman, I can do anything. And so I was really, really surprised to see that. And I’m really lucky, I’ve got a husband who’s very, very supportive. But I think some of those home stereotypes do definitely need to be challenged. And, you know, even with my parents, there’s still, you know, roles that men and women play. And I guess I totally defy that. My husband does all the cooking. He’s a great cook.


So Matt I’m curious.  How would women actually broach these kinds of conversations with men, you know, ‘hey, I want to be a pilot, or I want to go be a vice president, and I’m gonna be flying around the world. And I’m not going to be here too often, you know, do you mind being more stable?’ How do we go have those conversations?


That’s a good question. And I think I mean, the knee jerk reaction in my head, is I’m kind of going through the same thing in my where I’m at in my career, where I’m getting comfortable asking for things. Or I guess it comes down to that. The Silicon Valley, I always forget their name, which is bad, but it’s the line in principle. Cheryl? Cheryl, yeah, I was thinking that way. But I just don’t want to say it incorrectly. So leaning in, taking up more space, and then kind of like embracing it. In Spartan, we call it embracing the suck, Spartan Races, the obstacle racing. So the crazy thing that I do every couple of months for some reason, one of our mottos is just embrace the suck, so leaning in and so that uncomfortableness is just something you got to lean into. Which for me, I’m struggling with now as well and asking for either promotions or raises or pushing back on different initiatives at work or campaigns or ideas that I don’t think are good. Or if I have input sometimes – I mean, I’m a conflict avoidant type of person, so I will tend to not – I will, you know, keep silent or think that it doesn’t. My voice won’t have an impact on that. And I’m just getting comfortable asking and pushing it out there. And I think every time I’ve been either on the receiving end or pushing myself. It’s always led to a good conversation like I think it’s kind of like it was brought up earlier is the elephant in the room. And when it gets brought up every there’s kind of a sense of relief when it happens.


Yeah. Yeah. And I’m glad you brought up that leaning in, because it’s so so important because we read that book as a best seller. Right. But so think of the reality of what leaning and looks like you’re completely off balance. There’s no way around it, especially with aviation, you know, to be away from home for five days. Yeah, you’re going to be on a constant teeter totter back and forth of your happiness level. And it changes over time. And to know that it’s going to be that way. And there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s having that acceptance that that burden on you, especially as a mom, if you decide to have kids, it’s going to feel horrible at times, you’re going to be looking at your career saying, ‘Wait, do I really want to be doing this right now?’ And you’re gonna make decisions based on that moment. But you have to learn to step back and look at the bigger scope of your life, and how different from month to month you are, what your happiness levels are, what your obligations are to your work and to your home, it’s going to change constantly. So a lot of people will get into that rut and think, Okay, I’m happy right now. And if I continue doing that, I’ll stay happy. Well, that’s not how it happens. And then we wonder, you know, what’s wrong? And well, life is happening to you. So you have to learn to just roll with it, it’s going to adjust up and down on a teeter totter. And most people don’t step back and look at the big picture and have that viewpoint of it. It’s hard to do. Because you kind of have to look back at yourself and look at your what you’ve done and say, Okay, well, that may made me happy. What at that time made me happy. But it’s changed now. And then make a decision based on that.


Yeah, with my clients, I often talk to them about how they’ve got the little g and the big G. So little g is like, what’s the little goal that’s right in front of you, and it might just be getting through today. And it might not be going well. But what’s the big goal? What’s this in service of. And so, you know, if you keep yourself present to your big goal, you can be like, ‘Hey, I might be struggling today. But it doesn’t mean that I’m not on track to hit that big G. It’s just a bump on the way to a milestone.’


So we’ve talked about how some of these ways of changing these perceptions actually can start with conversations in the home. But what about even before that? What about young people? How do we ensure that we change perception so that girls actually think about careers in aviation or careers as a pilot? How do we go that far back and change those perceptions?


So we have to begin by changing our own stereotypes. ‘For some reason, girls, and women still think, oh, ‘it’s gonna be hard, harder than it is for boys to get an aviation license.’  That’s pilot crap, I’m sorry. The skills that are required for men and women are exactly the same. So it’s that tipping point in a person’s mind, like, where do you go from saying, ‘oh, it’d be really cool to be a pilot,’ to actually stepping out and saying, ‘okay, damn it, I’m going to be a pilot. How do I do that?’ So I’ve, you know, tried to go out into the world and lay out, okay, you first make the decision, you want to be this and then you’re going to have to embrace that idea. And it’s a full encompassing life change if you actually want to do this. So just giving concrete answers, okay, here’s your first step. Here’s your second step. Yep, here’s the third, here’s where it’s going to be really hard and too bad. You just need to do it. And making sure girls know that they can do this and not just saying it, but then showing them how, you know, getting that first flight and taking it beyond that concept and actually doing it. It’s like, you know, eating the elephant one bite at a time because when you look at the scope of what you need to learn in aviation, it’s daunting, but so is everything right? And you can’t just, you know, jump into the thing, you’re gonna have to just walk quietly through that path and just, you know, pick it up as you go along. And so as long as we’re out there, where we’ve got some women leaders out there, we’re seeing many more images of women in aviation, you know, quietly leading and just being out there and getting a vision. I know, for me growing up, I grew up in Minnesota, like we were saying, and when we talked about career day, they would actually take the boys in one room and the girls in the other room, and we would have completely separate conversations. So just think how much has changed. And I know we get frustrated, and I still get frustrated. We’re, I just looked up the numbers for airline transport pilot rated pilots, how many there are, and it’s still only 4.5% of them are women. So but it takes time, it takes a generation or two. And so what we’re doing now is going to affect the next generation. And I know my kids growing up, they don’t even think twice about seeing women in unusual roles, at least that I think are unusual. They’re just like what’s the big deal, mom? And I’m like, Yes, that’s exactly it. I don’t want any more headlines saying, ‘this is the first all female flight crew of this airplane,’ as soon as we get through that, I think it will have changed that image. And human beings will start to accept that, hey, we’re just we’re human beings, we’re all the same whether we like it or not. And it takes time and generations, and we’re just picking away at doing things like this today.


Yeah, I’m looking forward to a lot less of those headlines. Being normal, not first woman, not first person of color, let’s just make it the norm.


Yeah, exactly.


I agree too.


So in terms of changing perceptions, what are some of the perceptions that you had to change about yourself in order for you to break through some of the glass ceilings, even though you created all the others?


Yeah. You know, I had a lot of those aha moments along the way that had been around me the whole time. I just didn’t acknowledge them. It’s not necessarily just a personality type. But I’ve seen in general with my girl students, we always talk about ego, and we kind of put a bad connotation on it. But I found that women develop their confidence in ego a little bit later in life. It comes with knowledge, it comes with power. And I think for a lot of girls, especially in our society, we put so much image on what you look like and how you act and you know, blah, blah, blah. So you have to have this confidence and self-talk to get into a cockpit and say, Okay, I’m gonna take this thing by myself, put it up in the air, I’m going to fly to someplace I’ve never been to, you have to have that confidence in that ego. And I think we miss girls in that middle school high school element when we want them to get into this career path. So you know, I don’t even have a good answer for that. But as a society, we need to work on that.


I remember, as I’m working on the 727, there’s three pilots in the cockpit. And my change of perception on the situation is that I would walk in that cockpit with two guys that have never flown with a woman before. And I had the power, because I’d spent my whole career flying with men, so I know how to behave and how to act and they didn’t. So as soon as I walked in the door, I’m like, Haha, I got the power here. Because I’m used to this. And they’re like, ‘can I swear? Can I tell a joke?’ You know, you could see that they were instantly uncomfortable. And so then I’m like, Oh, I feel bad for you. I’m like, No, I don’t. You guys are just gonna have to get used to it. So I just learned to just, you know, walk in that cockpit door, be happy to be there. I know how to do my job, I’m going to do it really well, I’m going to make you guys hold that same standard, I want to be completely safe. And I learned that you know, as a subordinate, like in the flight engineer seat, I would go to these different bases. And there was a different safety culture and different culture at every base. And there’s a couple of bases I hated flying out of because it was a cowboy attitude. Nobody ran a checklist. I mean, it was just this complete safety hazard. And I just realized that just like communicational Human Factors, things had such a big impact on safety. So I didn’t care what they said. I would continue to follow the rules, follow the checklist and to make sure that that flight was safe and abiding by the rules, even if they didn’t want to. And over time, they knew that was what I expected of them even though I was just a lowly flight engineer. So I could see them change their behavior, just because I was so persistent on it. And so it was my little tiny victories like that, that changed my own perception of where I belonged in that crew of men. And it’s a fascinating study of human interaction. To be able to sit back especially in the flight engineer seat, I used to get to watch the captain and the first officer communicate and work together. And it was so intriguing to see what worked well. personalities, what behaviors made other people do what they want them to do. So, you know I like to share that experience with my students, because flying is one thing, but actually, that Crew Resource Management inside the cockpit makes all the difference as far as a safe flight.


And what I’m hearing you say is that you took it upon yourself to own it


You know, I own that I’m a great pilot, I own that I’m going to be excellent during this flight. And I own that, by the end of this flight, you’re not even going to be thinking about the fact that I’m a woman. And I own that I have different standards, and I want to raise the standards, and that’s okay.


So to sum it up, for our listeners, what I’m hearing is, just own it. And if that’s not something that’s coming naturally from within, just practice it, you know, fake it ’til you make it or ‘act as if’ is something that I like to say.

And you go in and you start owning it and you get a good response, then you’re a little bit more confident next time to own something even bigger and better and keep on going.


Absolutely. They I just say, hey, ‘haters don’t hate on losers.’ So, bye, bye. If you want to be weird with me


To add on to that, you know, so people ask, okay, well, how do I do that? How do I actually do that? How do I apply that. And so it could be stupid little things. What it was for me is that I would just have this ritual every time I would walk down the jet bridge, and I was about to step on another plane, I would just put my hand out on the edge of the fuselage and just touch it. And I would take me one second to say, Okay, I have to leave everything that is human about me behind because I’m stepping on this airplane, and now I am the pilot. So it was just a quick moment to shift my perception and my situational awareness, and say that everything else is done. And I’m now the pilot, I am the captain. And this is the way it’s gonna be. So, you, that’s what you can do for yourself, have your little ritual, whatever that is. Even if you put on your left shoe, you know, to take a moment of higher situational awareness to say, ‘Okay, now I’m going to own this moment, I’m going to own this day. And this is how we’re going to do it.’


I love that. I’m a big fan of things like power poses, or before I go onstage, I’ll do a little dance in the back just to get the blood flowing. And just imagine that I’m a rock star. And you know, even though I’m not a rock star, I might as well just act as if!


I think you are a rockstar


Oh, thank you. Thank you. You too, we’re all rock stars! 


So I’m just conscious of time. And like you said at the start, Erika, we could talk about this for eight hours. And I know that Matt has a few questions for you.


Yeah, and hopefully they’re not off topic, I do have a tendency to go on a tangent. But, everybody’s talking about it. And I saw, you know, your posts from the Top 62. When you know, I gave you the form and you filled it out. You mentioned that somebody you follow is Richard Branson and he’s been in the news a lot recently. So I was wondering if there’s anything you had to share? Or I mean, thoughts on thoughts on him maybe in specifically regards of what maybe lessons we can learn from him or this spaceflight, in changing perceptions?


Yeah, so Richard Branson, there’s two things that rise to the top. When I think about him, two things that I admire. First of all, he says he’s going to do something and he does it. He I mean, I watched him plow through the criticism, you have to have a thick skin to be in his position. And I just love that he just ignored us that all rolled off of him. But you know what, the second thing that he has that’s so powerful, which is that we don’t spend a lot of time talking about his sense of humor, he has this fabulous sense of humor. And what that can do for you is any situation you know, it’s like in the cockpit when somebody a misogynist is there and just doesn’t want you there. If you can filter that with a sense of humor, and, you know, pull out look at the situation and say, Okay, look how stupid this situation is, right? If you can put an angle of humor on it, you can get through anything. So I think Richard Branson is one of those people that has just this joy of life. And he, just like we were saying, he owns it, even when he makes these horrible mistakes. He is willing to laugh at it, laugh at himself, laugh at the naysayers and he just does it. You know, and I love that he’s kind of stepped down different avenues and, you know, sometimes it’s a dead end, but he’s willing to step back and try again and just those, you know, little personality quirks that he has, has gotten him to where he is now.


Yeah, in my experience, I noticed that sometimes women will let the criticism affect them a bit more than it does men. And so I think, you know, looking at men that have broken barriers, because he has broken barriers, you know, what is it that they’re doing? And not letting that criticism sink really deep into our heart is really important.


It’s hard to do it because boy, there are some people out there that their sole goal is to tear you down. Yeah, I’ve definitely ran in with them. I’ve been with guys in the simulator. And just to give you an example, I just remember I was flying with this guy. We’re doing v1 cuts we’re doing in the simulator, but they pulled the engines on us. So you have to quickly step on the rudders. And that was my favorite thing I love doing. I love doing engine failures, and this one day, I’m like, ‘wow, what the heck is going on? This sim is acting really funky,’ I’m stepping on the rudder, I’m pushing as hard as I can. I’m like, ‘What the hell’s going on?’ In my other corner, my eye can see a little bit of movement. And the guy I’m flying with is purposely stepping on the wrong rudder. So he can feel you have to have an immediate response. You know, so you can make sure you’re in control of this. So I’m like Alright, I’m gonna watch this. I’m watching. And sure enough, he’s doing this. So, you know, I’m like, ‘Okay, this is my, my career on the line, I need to pass check rides, I need to do a perfect job. You know, what can I do about this?’ So I just, you know, pulled the instructor aside and said, ‘Hey, look, you know, I just want to share with you this is going on, don’t you know, I’m not going to get this guy in trouble.’ I said, ‘I just want you to just watch it, just, you know.’ So sure enough, we do it again. And the instructors are watching and he’s like, he sees that happening, you start to see him and a really long string of swear words comes out. But he’s like, ‘What are you doing?’  so he gave him a good lecture on ‘you know, this is your crew, this is people that you have to fly with. This is your life in your hands, the person sitting next to you.’ And so it exists out there. You know, every situation, you’ll have to handle it, you know, whatever is required and so I can’t give up, like an answer how to get through that. But yeah, if you can keep a positive perspective on and say, ‘Okay, so here’s a bad situation. What can I do to make this person learn from it too, so that doesn’t ever happen again?’ You’ll find a way.


Yeah, that there are naysayers out there. And what I have to remind myself is that’s about them. It’s not about me, it’s their insecurity. And even in this work that I’m doing that I do, I do have critics. And sometimes for a moment or two it does like pierce me and I’m like ‘what am I doing? What am I doing?’ And then I have to remind myself, well, what’s my bigger goal here? I want to make a difference. I’m not gonna always get it right. Everyone’s not always gonna be happy with me. And that’s okay.


Yeah. And if you quit, that lets them win. Yeah, just keep that in the back of your head.


Oh I love that. Yeah. Well, final question today, Erika, what would be the one piece of advice you would give to a young woman thinking about going into a career in aviation?


You probably won’t like this. But my advice is don’t take advice. You go to aviation, you will be bombarded with advice. Everybody around you is going to tell you the way it should be or how it should go and what you should do next. I try to teach my students because most of them think they want to be an airline pilot. But there are all these other niches in aviation that need to be filled. So just because you think you want to be an airline pilot, don’t be resistant to other segments like this aviation, how cool would it be to fly a Gulfstream around the world for you know, some corporations? Oh, yeah. So there’s a lot of things that you will get to find in your head and what you think you want. So my only advice is to not take that external advice and listen to your heart and your truth and what’s going to make you happy is inside of you. And we don’t listen to that very often. So listen to what you want, next on how you think you can do it. And there’s a ton of resources out there. So please reach out. My email is out there. If you have any question whatsoever, please let me know I’ve been in many different segments of aviation. So reach out.

And when you hit those barriers, don’t stop. Just look around, say, hey, who can answer a question so that I can get over this barrier. That’s key right now to get through a career in aviation. There’ll be tons of barriers we have about an 80% washout rate. So instead of just stopping, look both ways, try to find someone else who can help you over that barrier.


Well, Erika, thank you so much for giving us your time so generously today. I could talk to you for hours. I know that our listeners are just gonna love this podcast. So if you are listening head over to for the podcast. And you’ll also see some links to Erika’s books and Erika’s websites and how you can get in touch with Erika. And you know, just keep, every time you’re thinking to yourself, I can’t do this, I can’t do that, uust ask yourself, ‘what would Erika do?’


Thank you so much. And thank you guys so much for doing podcasts like this. And Matt, thank you for doing what you’re doing on LinkedIn. That’s so it’s so important, truly more than you realize the impact that’s happening out there. Just having those images come through people’s screens is so important. And it’s so nice to have positive messages these days, because it’s a tough world out there. So thank you for doing podcasts like this.


So really, thank you for being a part of this. And thank you for joining us. I like to say it’s an honor and a pleasure and a privilege.


Thank you. Thank you guys. Have an awesome day.


Yeah, thanks, everyone.





About Erika

Erika Armstrong has spent 30 years in aviation. From the front desk of a small FBO in Minnesota to the captain’s seat of an international commercial airliner, Erika has experienced everything aviation has to offer. During her career, she was a Red Cross, charter, corporate, cargo, hazmat and air ambulance pilot flying 28 different aircraft before going to the airlines. She is also an aviation professor at MSU Denver, VP of Business Development at Advanced Aircrew Academy and author of A Chick in the Cockpit.

Her experience is backed up by her education. She has three years undergraduate journalism education from the University of Minnesota, a B.A. degree from the University of Denver in International Business and Economics and a M.S. in progress from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She is the 2020 Tony Kern’s Professional in Aviation winner but most uniquely, she has 500,000 aviation enthusiasts and followers around the world.