Piloting a plane is still a profession dominated by men: Estimates reveal that only about seven percent of commercial pilots are female. Which is why the situation encountered on a recent Delta flight is so unusual.
On a flight from Los Angeles International airport to Atlanta a few weeks ago, passengers learned that there were not one, but two women in the cockpit. And even more surprisingly, they were related. The flight’s captain, Wendy Rexon, was joined by her first-officer daughter, Kelly Rexon.
After a passenger took a photo and posted it on Twitter, more than 16,000 people shared it, celebrating the high-flying family. “Just flew from LAX to ATL on Delta piloted by this mother daughter flight crew,” passenger Dr. John R. Watret tweeted. “Great Flight. Inspiring for young women.”
The media picked up on it and interviews with the mother-daughter duo shared that the Rexon clan is very aviation-centric. Wendy’s husband is a pilot, as is their other daughter, Kate, and Wendy’s father is a retired pilot, too.
An In-Flight Family
“We would run around in their captain hats and have fun as little kids and go on their trips with them,” Kelly, the older daughter, told ABC News. “It was definitely part of the family business, and I started flying when I was 16, and I had the pleasure of being [my younger sister] Kate’s instructor and she was my first student.”
The sisters also trained up on family vacations, when the then-teenaged daughters were allowed to log some flying time on a small plane while their parents were strapped in as passengers.
When asked about why so few women are seen flying multi-ton jets, Wendy has said she believes lack of visibility is a big issue. Programs at airlines around the country, like Delta’s “Women Inspiring our Next Generation,” that promote aviation careers to young women, are part of the solution in her opinion. And the attention on her family will certainly help.