The weather is really starting to heat up! Our creative team caught up with Pilot Tory Crosby based in Las Vegas to see how she is cooling things off in the desert. Currently in Dallas, Texas at CAE flight school working on her Global Express Jet Type Rating, Tory delves into how she went from seeing an introductory , “no experience required” flight class advertisement to a full time career in Aviation in the Q & A below.
Cockpit USA: How did you become involved with aviation? Tell me about the events that led to you becoming a pilot?
Pilot Tory: I was working as a bartender in Las Vegas when my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She had me make a promise to her that I would travel and explore new experiences and that I would live life fully, to the best of my ability. Having no idea how I was going to make money doing that, I set off to try new experiences in hopes that I would figure it out. So I traveled and explored skydiving and racing cars, that is when I saw an advertisement for an intro flight in a helicopter. The ad read: “No experience required. We will let you take controls and fly”. Seeing this as an excellent opportunity to try something new, I signed up! After a short ground introduction, we were at the helicopter and taking off. In no time, this instructor was handing over controls, and I was flying a helicopter. It was an instant addiction. I remember looking at the instructor and asking him “You get paid to do this?” And with the biggest smile on his face, he replied “Yup”. A few short months after that flight I earned my helicopter license.
Cockpit USA: How has becoming a pilot impacted your life?
Pilot Tory: Becoming a pilot has impacted my life in so many ways. From the people I’ve met, the places I’ve been, and the incredible places I’ve seen. The fact is that I wake up excited to go to work. At the risk of sounding like a complete and total cliché, I earn money by flying, just so I can go and spend that money on flying for fun.
Cockpit USA: In your eyes what is your greatest accomplishment thus far?
Pilot Tory: My greatest accomplishment thus far would be getting my first initial pilot's license. That is a time when you know absolutely nothing and in the beginning, it could seem overwhelming. You go into your first check-ride exam to get your license not knowing what to expect. Feeling like you don’t know all the things you should. So even though this isn’t my biggest accomplishment in aviation by scale, it is my greatest!
Cockpit USA: Last December you posted “You’re only as young as you feel” for a video where you underwent a G-force training. Could you tell me more about that experience?
Pilot Tory: Last year, I pulled 8 Gs in an aerobatic airplane. This was a birthday present I got for myself! The joke was most people black out on their birthdays… so, I was going to do it too, just not the typical kind of “black out”. That said, it’s not every day that you get to pull 8Gs in an airplane that is 8 times your body weight being pushed down on you. Most pilots can’t withstand those Gs without training. I love doing aerobatics, but I typically only pull a maximum of 4. So being able to do double was quite an experience.
Cockpit USA: According to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots, 5.8% of the worlds airline pilots are female. How has your experience of being a woman in a male dominate industry been? Is there anything that you would like to share with aspiring female pilots?
Pilot Tory: My experience has been pleasant. Most pilots I have met and worked with have such a love for aviation that they enjoy sharing their knowledge and passion with everyone, male or female. In my 3500 hours of flying, I have only had one passenger refuse to fly with me. He requested one pilot and when I was the one that showed up, he asked for a male pilot. The company I was flying for at the time fully had my back and refused to send another pilot if his only concern was that I am a woman. Being supported by your employer really instills your sense of belonging and this is definitely something I would like to see more of in all industries, employers standing up for their employees.
Cockpit USA: What can we look forward to seeing from you next?
Pilot Tory: In the next week, I will be a Global type-rated pilot; I plan to start doing more international flying, this time in my favorite corporate jet, as well as more fun general aviation flying adventures and aerobatics in my off time.
Cockpit USA: What is your favorite Cockpit USA jacket and why?
Pilot Tory: I am just so grateful to be an ambassador for Cockpit USA. They are an amazing family-oriented company that encompasses everything I love about aviation. My favorite jacket is the Women’s Raider, it is the one I wear the most. Considering how often I wear it, the material and quality never fade, which is a testament to the quality of the products.
Photography by: Brandon Span & Daniel Ottavio