May 1, 2008
For those who place credence in the theory that one’s behavior is mapped by their genes, Joiwind Alexander is a poster child. Her great-grandfather, J.B. Alexander, taught Howard Hughes how to fly and was Hughes’ chief of aeronautics on the silent film classic Hell’s Angels. Her grandmother, Rosamond Alexander, was a WASP (Women’s Airforce Service Pilot) during World War II, and then raced cars when she couldn’t find work flying. Alexander’s aunt, Charlotte Alexander, is currently flying Citation jets as a corporate pilot. So it should come as no surprise that Alexander has an innate drive to go faster, higher, and live a bit more daringly than most of society.
Alexander’s accomplishments are what you would expect from a woman of her nature; motorcycles, skydiving, even a stint in Hollywood, where she appeared in a few short films. But, when she discovered flying, she found her calling. As with all of her passions, Alexander leapt into aviation with gusto.
Her first flight lesson was on September 9, 2006. By November, she had her private pilot certificate, which was followed in December by a multiengine rating, and the instrument ticket was achieved in January 2007. One month later, she was a commercial pilot in multiengine aircraft and in March of this year, she became a flight instructor for visual and instrument flight in both multiengine and single-engine aircraft. To cap it off, on August 16, 2007, less than a year from her first lesson and with more than 500 flight hours, she was hired by ExpressJet as first officer flying an Embraer 145, a 50-seat regional jet.
“During my private pilot training, I kept a picture with me of my grandmother, standing next to one of the airplanes she flew in 1943,” she said. “It was a reminder of the incredible heritage of the strong, independent women who had the courage to pursue their dreams, and it motivated me to be the best pilot possible.”
Alexander would like to pursue competitive aerobatics and maybe even racing at Reno. There’s also a chance that her name will be etched into the annals of speed. She is currently talking to the American Eagle Land Speed Record team, about being their female driver.
Movies and Television,
Pilot Training and Certification
The National Aeronautic Association has awarded the Collier Trophy for “the first unmanned, autonomous air system operating from an aircraft carrier.”
The memory of a passenger who perished in an April 1945 airline accident continues to drive an effort to recognize notable achievements in aviation safety.
Discussing the pros and cons of possible routes, your CFII poses an unexpected question: “What is an air traffic clearance?”
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