Here at the Cockpit USA headquarters we often say that “every jacket tells a story”. Our story begins when founder Jeff Clyman started wearing his father’s old WWII jacket at local airshows and noticed that he was being asked by strangers where they could buy one just like it. Being a military and American fashion collector of vintage gear, Jeff originally started re-selling his personal collection. His passion for aviation and the history of his father’s Army Air Corps jacket would ultimately inspire him to develop first Avirex, and soon after the Cockpit USA brand.

In the spirit of Father’s Day, our creative team has put together a very special Off Duty story featuring our newest Brand Ambassadors: the Hangar Sisters. We invite you to join us in this interview as these two young aspiring female pilots, Lauren and Cat Stevens, delve into how they found their father’s old jacket with the original receipt inside and, most importantly, how their father’s career has inspired them to continue his legacy and pursue their own futures in aviation.

We’re grateful for female pilots Lauren and Cat Stevens sharing their story with us in this interview and, in doing so, honoring our fathers and the stories that inspire us.

Happy Father’s Day!

Cockpit USA: What inspired you both to get into aviation? How did this opportunity present itself?

Lauren & Cat Stevens: Our Dad was a pilot and aircraft dealer, which exposed us to general aviation at a young age. We grew up around aircraft, hangars, pilots, etc, so we always knew we would have a place in the industry, whether it involved flying or not. Unfortunately, in 2019 our dad passed away, so we eventually took over his businesses which included the Long Beach Hangar and an aviation advertising business named Plane Fax. The journey has not always been the easiest, but this has been the most rewarding experience of our lives. We hope that our story inspires others to look into the opportunities that general aviation has to offer!

Cockpit USA:  What are your individual goals in aviation? What type of pilot do you aspire to be?

Cat: I am finding my way in aviation and plan to start my pilot training soon. I thoroughly enjoy the work I do and running the hangar has become a new found passion of mine. Since I am so new to the industry I am not sure what my end goal is, but I know that I am enjoying the journey.

Lauren: I would love to get into aircraft sales at some point, but I feel the same as Cat where I am still figuring it out. I notice that the more connections we make, the more we get involved and opportunities begin to unfold! It will be really interesting to see where we are in the next 5 years! I want to fly turboprops and jets whether it’s for a private owner or a charter company only the future will tell (or even both!).  Another dream of mine is to fly aerobatics. I have been so focused on my instrument rating, but once that is done I will have some time to build until my commercial license, so I’d like to fill those hours out with aerobatic training and a tailwheel endorsement. 


Cockpit USA : Please share 3 words that describe each other?

Lauren about Cat: Intelligent, Charismatic and Badass 

Cat about Lauren: Driven, Caring, and Hilarious

Cockpit USA:   Are you often mistaken for one another? How can most people tell you apart?

We are not usually mistaken for each other, but everyone thinks we're twins! We both have very different styles outside of work, so most people can tell who is who. Our personalities are very different as well, but at the same time we have telepathy. We always know what each other is thinking and we will blurt out the same words at the exact same time!

Cockpit USA:    What is the most challenging experience you have encountered in flight training so far and what has been the most rewarding?

Lauren: I would say checkrides are the most challenging, but also the most rewarding. Kind of like anything else in life! 

Cockpit USA: What are the advantages of training with your sister? Any disadvantages ?

There is no one in the world who knows you better than your own family. We know each other's strengths and weaknesses which we use to our advantage. Of course we bicker like siblings do, but at the end of the day we love each other unconditionally which helps us separate personal life from business when needed.

Cockpit USA: What has been your experience as two young women entering the aviation industry?

So far we have had an amazing experience as young women in aviation. Not only is everyone kind and welcoming, they are always lending a helping hand. We are incredibly thankful for our mentors, neighbors and community because of the outpour of love we have felt.

Cockpit USA: Are there any aviators out there that inspire you?

Lauren about Cat: Of course our dad has always been a core inspiration to us because he is the reason we are here today, and we love what we do. We are also inspired by each other! Anytime one sister is down about an idea, the other is always there to encourage and bring it to fruition. We are so impressed with each other's resilience and passion!

Cockpit USA: Tell us about your father’s flight jacket and how it connected you to Cockpit USA?

I found the jacket in the hangar with the original receipt dating back to 1983. I unfortunately couldn't find any photos of my dad wearing it, but we just know it has a rich history of adventure. We started wearing the jacket and posted a photo of Cat wearing it, which connected us to Cockpit USA. We are incredibly thankful to have found this jacket because it connected us to such a great new relationship.

Cockpit USA: Was you father a pilot? If so what type of pilot? Did he ever share a story with you that inspired you to pursue a career in aviation?

Lauren about Cat: Yes! Our dad became a pilot when he was 17 years old and continued to fly throughout his whole life. He eventually became an aircraft dealer and was type rated in many jets including citations and learjets . Our dad loved aviation more than anyone we know and he passed that passion down to us. We keep his legacy going through the hangar and Plane Fax. One of his dreams was for his daughters to learn about and grow his two companies which we are so proud to do now.

Cockpit USA: Do you have any other family members in aviation?

Lauren about Cat: Yes! Our mom is a pilot along with most of our extended family on our dad’s side. We were born to be in aviation!

Cockpit USA: What are your favorite Cockpit USA styles and how do you like to style your flight jackets?

Cat: Las Vegas Lady Pinup A-2, WASP A-2 Flight Jacket, and U.S.A.F. 21st. Century A-2 Jacket. I love the silhouette of the A-2 and would pair it with my favorite Levis, Converse and a white tank top. I like to keep the base simple when I have a jacket where I want to showcase the  symbolic history.

Lauren: Women’s G-1 Jacket, B-3 Bomber Jacket and the sheepskin coat. I style the bombers similar to Cat with jeans, a tank and Converse or some leather boots. 

Cockpit USA: Do you have any advice to  share with someone looking to pursue a career in aviation?

Lauren about Cat: To never let doubt get in the way of reaching your goals. Whether it be self-doubt or the doubt of others, don’t let it stop you because you never know what will work if you don't at least try. 

We always say … “the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” and “ask  and you shall receive.” No one can read your mind so if you don’t ask, it most likely won't happen. If you haven't heard back from someone, the chances are they have forgotten. Most people have a lot going on in their lives, so don't be afraid to follow up. The worst they can say is no.

Cockpit USA:  What can we look forward to seeing from you both in the near future?

Lauren about Cat:  You can always count on seeing our hangar and flying adventures, but we will continue to evolve our brand. We hope to purchase our own plane in the somewhat near future.

Cockpit USA:  Last one… What are your dream destinations?

Cat: Greece

Lauren: Bali