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.
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
Available for speaking engagements
To order my book: www.captaingramma.com
By Captain Nancy Aldrich, Aviation Writer