Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pageant Sisters

Piloting breeds a sort of fraternity of people who speak the same language, the problem is that it's really more like a fraternity (ie. ALL GUYS) than it should be. I have female pilot friends (and I'm a member of a female flying club - the Alaska Chapter of 99s), but I don't really get together with them very often, so I wind up gathering with a bunch of guys after work or in between flights. It can get old really fast.

On the other hand, when you're part of a pageant you are definitely not going to find many guys around talking about unruly boobs or how to keep your swimsuit from riding up. One of the reasons I entered pageantry was to have a venue to meet other like-minded women and show off my elegant and glamourous side. You also have the chance to forge new friendships.

I have the greatest group of pageant sisters ever known... Mrs. Alaska - America class of 2009, 23 accomplished, beautiful and versitile Alaskan ladies who I had the honor of participating with at the state pageant. We all became fast friends and have even gotten together AFTER the pageant (see group photo) for a movie night (yup, we watched "Miss. Congeniality"). There isn't a single lady in the group who I wouldn't drop what I was doing and go to if she needed help.

I enjoy my pilot friends and "talking shop", but I truly savor the female comraderie pageants afford me.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Quick Change Artist

If yesterday is a sample of how the rest of the year is going to pan out, it's going to be a great one.
I flew a DeHavilland Twin Otter (one of the absolutely coolest airplanes on Earth) from 8am until 4pm, went home, put a touch of makeup on and a nice suit then drove out to Wasilla with my 1 year old daughter plus my mother-in-law and attended Governor Sarah Palin's annual picnic.

I felt a bit like "Superwoman" when I did my quick change from pilot to sash and crown... all I need is a phone booth now.  And maybe some red and blue underwear.

Governor Palin has a pageant history, too.  If you didn't already know, she was Miss Wasilla and first runner up to Miss Alaska in the late eighties.  See ladies, pageants can prepare you for a lot of things in life; you just never know what it may be.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Being a younger-looking, petite pilot sometimes throws people off.  I get that a lot.  I've only had one passenger fail to fly with me because he felt I wasn't strong enough to "pull him from the wreckage if we crashed".  Seriously, I really don't plan on crashing.  This is a sample of what it's been like over the last 14 years of my piloting career.  

I've been involved in pageants even longer than piloting and no one seems to question the validity of me being a contestant, hmmm.  I think it takes more guts to get on stage and bare your soul to an audience than to navigate a light aircraft through the mountains of Alaska.  I also think you've got to be even stronger to wear high heels and dance in a cocktail dress than to chuck freight in and out of an airplane in remote villages.  Here's to all of the contestants who have taken the leap and stepped into the world of pageantry.  Hurray for all women who choose to be versitile and can get grubby and glamourous in the same day.

I was crowned Mrs. Alaska America one week ago and I feel like I've been given a new set of wings and told to "go have fun!"  Wheeeeee!  Here we go!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Erika Bennett, Mrs. Alaska 2009!!!