Raised on Jet Fuel: Capt. Kristin Rice Achieves Lifelong Dream of Becoming a Pilot

kristen rice

"There must have been a little jet fuel in my baby bottle," said Envoy Air Capt. Kristin Rice. Rice grew up immersed in aviation. Her father and both of her grandfathers were seasoned pilots. She remembers watching planes take off during summers spent at Bourland Field, an airpark developed by her grandfather, Dick Bourland, outside of Fort Worth, Texas. 

"I instantly knew that aviation was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life!" she said. "I would sneak into the Frasca simulator and pretend I was a pilot. I would beg my grandfather to let the instructors take me up flying. It was a complete rush!"

After graduating from college, Rice applied and was quickly accepted to Mesa’s pilot development program. She attained all her pilot ratings in 15 months and began working for Mesa in late 2008. She immediately jumpseated with her father on one of his trips.

Furloughed after only five months, Rice obtained her MEI, CFII, and CFI ratings in a little over a month and began work for U.S. Flight Academy. After a little more than a year and more than 1,000 hours of instruction, she was hired by American Eagle, now Envoy Air, where she was recently upgraded to captain.

After jumpseating together in 2008, Rice and her father didn't cross flight paths again for seven years. When they finally passed through Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport at the same time, it was the first time the father-daughter pair were together in uniform.

"I took a photo and posted on Facebook about this special moment with my dad," Rice said. "My father has helped me immensely to achieve my dreams and aspirations of becoming an airline pilot. It’s exciting to be the first female aviator in our family, one generation to the next!"

Does the love of flying run in your family? If so, we’d like to hear from you! Visit www.alpa.org/allinthefamily to find out how you can share your story.

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