How did Janet come to be Spirit’s first woman pilot? Her start in aviation happened very young. At the age of 11, Air Florida 90 crashed into the Potomac River and on that day Janet realized being an airline pilot was a career position she wanted to pursue. Not having family in aviation nor ever having been in an airplane, at the age of 14 Janet went for her first airplane ride in a four-seat Cessna 172. She loved it! She also joined Civil Air Patrol to learn more about aviation. In 1986, Janet won the Mary von Mach Flight Scholarship given by the Michigan Chapter 99s to attend a Civil Air Patrol Flight Encampment. On July 19, 1986 Janet soloed an airplane for the first time at MBS, Tri-City Airport in Saginaw, Michigan. Afterward, she continued flying lessons at small airports near her parent's house in Southeast Lower Michigan.
In 1987 she earned her Private Pilot Certificate and followed that up with her Instrument Rating, Commercial Pilot Certificate, Flight Instructor Certificates and the ultimate Airline Transport Pilot Certificate. She also added the must-have Multi-Engine Rating and nice-to-have Ground Instructor Certificates, too. Always trying to increase her knowledge level and experience in aviation, Janet kept pursuing the next level of growth. Her career path is all-civilian, having been too short and wearing glasses, she was not able to be a military pilot. But that did not deter her motivation nor her goals. Her first commercial job was as a flight instructor. She did some jobs of charter flying in small jets but her love of airliners drew her elsewhere. From there she became a cargo pilot flying DC-6s. After that, she was hired to fly the mighty L188 Lockheed Electra, first as a Flight Engineer and then upgraded to First Officer. She has flown across the US, into Canada, Mexico and throughout the UK flying anything from automotive freight to newspaper and flowers to transformers and the robotic arm of a space shuttle.
At the very end of 1998, American Airlines hired Janet and she became a Flight Engineer on the Boeing 727. At American, she has had the opportunity to fly that airplane as well as Boeings 737, 757, 767, 777, and 787. She also has flown the Airbus 319/321. Janet is currently a First Officer on the Boeing 777 based at DFW and is looking forward to upgrading to wide-body Captain in the near future. Besides being mom to her daughters Lauren and Danielle, and her own flying, Janet’s biggest gratification is providing support, direction and leadership to the next generation of aviators. Through Patton Aviation, she can fulfill this worthy pursuit.