Captain Nancy Aldrich

 Nancy's award 5

On Sunday September 1st Captain Nancy Aldrich was at long last presented with the prestigious writers award she won. 20th Century Aviation Magazine had declared Ms. Aldrich the recipient of the 2012 Golden Yoke Award back in February 2012. The award was actually to be presented to Captain Aldrich at the 2013 Sun ‘n Fun International Expo airshow and Flyin at Lakeland, Florida April of this year. However, due to circumstances that were unforeseen, she did not attend and the award was not presented.

Congratulations Captain Nancy Aldrich, 2012 recipient 2012 Golden Yoke Award

International Outstanding Aviation Writers Award


Captain Nancy Aldrich

Nancy Aldrich is a retired United Airlines International 767 Captain. She authored “Captain Gramma,” which is the story of her career with United Airlines. She recently wrote “Flying My Dream,” which is a revised and expanded version. She says, “I wrote the book to encourage people to fight for their dreams. Sitting on the couch won’t get the job done. Your dream is not going to chase you, you have to chase it.” Nancy did just that!

Nancy was born on 19 December, 1939, the youngest of three children. She was born into a family with strong Christian values. Her parents believed that girls should finish high school, then get married and start a family. She wanted to join the military, but her parents strongly objected, saying, “Nice girls don’t do that.” She has always regretted not being in the military. 

During her childhood, she enjoyed a stable home life, full of love, music, work, and laughter. Being on the mischievous side, she had her share of spankings, and other punishments, but believes they helped shape her sense of duty and responsibility. She was also taught to be concerned about the needs of others. Her father worked hard to support the family and her mother stayed at home taking care of the home and family, and was very involved in church activities. She can not remember a day that her father did not give her mother a hug and kiss as soon as he got home from work. That has had a great influence on her life. The Bible and church were centerpieces in her early life.

She married at a minister 17-years-old, had her son at 18, and her daughter at 21. Being so young, she frequently felt out of place at meetings with other parents. They seemed to think she was too young to have valid opinions and would ignore her suggestions. That experience only strengthened her determination to become a success in life.

After 15 years of marriage, her husband announced he was leaving her for another woman. She soon found herself divorced with two teenage children and no way to properly support them. Since she had married so early, she had no job training or skills. Her parents wanted her to come home, but in her mid 30s, and with two children, she didn’t think that was the right thing to do. She felt her family was her responsibility, not her parent’s. Her friends suggested she go on welfare but she was young, healthy, intelligent, and determined to find a way out of her situation. She decided to become an airline pilot!

Nancy took her first flying lesson at the age of 37. Everyone laughed when she told them her dream of becoming an airline pilot. She was female, 37 years old and had no flight time, it was an impossible dream! To Nancy, impossible just meant it might take a little longer. It took 8 years for her to be hired as a pilot by United, then another 6 years to become a Captain. She flew 727s, 737s, 757s, and 767s as captain, and retired 22 1/2 years after taking her first flying lesson.

During the years she was training and developing her skills, there was very little encouragement from family or friends. Even her pilot friends did not believe she could actually become an airline pilot. Determination, hard work, and God’s blessings all came together and lead to her success. 

“It was a fun, exciting, and rewarding career,” she says. “It was well worth all the tears along the way.” Nancy believes it takes four things to be successful. “You have to believe in yourself, believe in your dreams, believe in God, and be willing to do the work! It takes all four!”

She retired in 2000 and has since moved to Pensacola, Florida where she volunteers at the Naval Aviation Museum. She is frequently invited to give motivational speeches, which she loves to do. She is also part of a Gospel Singing Group. She is a grandmother with two handsome grandsons. Her life now is wrapped around her family, her music, and sharing her excitement and love of aviation.

Golden Yoke 2

By Captain Nancy Aldrich, copyright May 2012  
Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; Let such as love Your salvation say continually, The LORD Be Magnified! Psalms 40:16
Nancy Welz Aldrich

Available for speaking engagements

To order my book:


By Captain Nancy Aldrich, Aviation Writer

Steve Greenwald

28 Responses to Captain Nancy Aldrich

  1. Patricia says:

    What a wonderful article. Thank you, it is great to see we have more female writers coming aboard we welcome you. I love this website. You are a good addition. Nice tribute captain Nancy, i will be waiting to read more from you.
    Patty Indio CA

    • Nancy says:

      Thanks, Patricia. I am enjoying writing here and plan to post a new article about every 7 days. I hope you will check back often!

  2. Rico says:

    I remember that, I fly for PAL, that was a sad day for aviation . God bless you from remembering him. good blog. thank you
    Rico, Manila Philippines

    • Nancy says:

      Thanks, yes it was a sad day for aviation, but glad that so many survived. I regret that I never got to meet Capt. Denny and tell him what a hero he was.

  3. Darlene says:

    good job Nancy 🙂

  4. Doris Abbate says:

    Good job. Nancy Aldritch’s article on Captain Dennis Fitch should appear more newspapers and on television shows. The public should be reminded how well trained our pilots are, too.

  5. CARL KUNZ says:

    Nice article! It is nice to remenber those that have seved mankind so well. There seems to be so few of those people today.

  6. Lorraine Hiltbrand says:

    Excellent article Nancy and what a tribute to Captain Dennis Fitch. You are certainly a great writer also

  7. Kathie Russell says:

    Very insightful article Nancy, and for those of us who only ride in airplanes, I applaud Captain Dennis Fitch. Thank you for reminding the world of another unsung hero.
    Kathie Russell
    Houston, Tx.

    • Nancy says:

      Thanks, Kathie. The world is full of unsung heros, and you are one for donating one of your kidneys to a friend. Very few people are that generous. You are an inspiration!

  8. Marty says:

    Certainly you make us all proud Nancy keep up the good work. We all depend on you to keep up the feminine end of the scale. Just because we are old timers doesn’t mean we are too old to cut the mustard right? So you go girl! Make us proud, but you always do don’t you?
    Remember me in Chicago a long time ago?
    Marty Gatwood 🙂

    • Nancy says:

      Thanks, Marty. I retired 12 years ago, but I do think I remember you. I plan to add new articles about once a week, so hope you will come back and read more.

  9. Dan Frye says:

    After reading captain nancys blog I googled the history of this flight because I did not remember it and I read all about the crash of this flight and the heroic deeds of this man and the way the crew handled the incident. I should say I am proud to be a pilot and also proud to be reminded about captaind Fitch. I think captain nancy did a good thing about reminding us about Fitch and the crash itself because we need to remember these things so we know these people did not die in vaine. I think there should be more blogs like this. thank you captain nancy you have made me aware of a wonderful hero and now you are my hero. I salute you and I will read your blog from now on. I am your new fan.
    Danny Frye, currently living in Kiev Ukraine

    • Nancy says:

      Thanks, Danny. I was surprised to get a comment from the Ukraine. I’m glad I had the chance to remind you of Flight 232, and my hero, Capt. Fitch. I only wish I could have met him. In my opinion, most pilots are heros one way or another, but he was certainly special.

  10. Vicki Willis says:

    Great article on “Flight Delays”! My daughter works fueling planes. She tells me how important her job is, and she is very consciencious about fueling and the paperwork. I gained a greater respect for flight after reading these articles. Thanks a bunch! Vicki Willis, Pensacola, Florida

    • Nancy says:

      Thanks, Vicki, I did not know your daughter fuels airplanes. It is a dangerous and mostly thankless, but very important job. You will see a story about fueling in my book. I hope you enjoy it!

  11. Loretta Guthrie says:

    What a thrill to read anything you write, Nancy. You’re professionalism is surpassed only by you’re love of Aviation. It is truly a privilege to be your friend and admirer of your talent…keep it up, gal!!!

  12. Loretta Scribner says:

    Enjoyed your story again. I think its wonderful that you were so determined to do for yourself and your children. God has blessed you, so continue in your good works. More women need to hear your story.

  13. haferaviation says:

    To: Captain Nancy Aldrich, and Her Readers all over the world…
    Although we have been tardy in the presentation of the 2012 Golden Yoke award to Captain Nancy Aldrich she was unable to receive it at the planned (unknown to her) Sun ‘n Fun 2013 in April. she will soon formally receive it in a presentation (known to her). In the mean-time she will have the award on the website and on her articles.
    I would like for all her readers to congratulate Nancy for her outstanding research and writing, Her contribution to this magazine is the direct result of our becoming a worldwide aviation magazine with a readership in 146 countries around the world. Please help us in thanking Captain Nancy Welz Aldrich, Congratulations in earning the prestigious 2012 Golden Yoke Award.
    JR Hafer and Staff
    (See the award above)

  14. Berna Mae says:

    Oh Nancy….little did we know in those early days… playing at your house in Houston….that someday we would read about you having such a wonderful Life. So glad that you have a wonderful Family and were able to accouplish the desire for you Life that you have. You are Blessed. Congratulations receiving the 2012 Golden Yoke Award. You deserve it . Berna Mae

  15. Nancy Aldrich says:

    I am honored to receive this award. I just try to write about things I know and things that interest me – hoping they will also be of interest to you, my readers. Thanks again for the honor!

  16. Kay Guhlin says:

    Enjoyed the article about you. I really enjoyed “Captain Gramma”, as I grew up in Houston. You do have a great gift for writing. I’m thrilled that your efforts have been rewarded, receiving the golden yoke award. Keep on doing what you do. God bless you and yours. Kay Guhlin

  17. Donna Gieseke says:

    I am proud to know you and to be your friend. Donna Gieseke

  18. cduwe says:

    Having just watched the Errol Morris interview I was saddened to find out this man has passed on. I guess future generations will find out what hero he was along with the rest of the crew that day because of modern technology.
    Most of all his conscience and humanity were what stood out.

  19. Ronnie Round says:

    Ronnie Round says
    03/16/2016 at 16:50

    How pleased Ann & I are to know Captain Nancy Aldrich personally. We will immediately order

    Century Aviation Magazine so we can read all of Captain Aldrich’s articles. What a honor to know

    she received the 2012 Golden Yoke Award.

  20. Al says:

    Nancy– Sure a great and interesting article, We are all blessed to know you. Hope people will read the wonderful book that you have out. Keep them coming.

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