A recent American Airlines flight was a real family affair. On Wednesday, a dad and daughter piloted a flight together for the first time as First Officer and Captain on a flight from Chicago to Dallas and then to Orange County. Coincidentally, the father-daughter duo’s first time flying together also marked daughter Jen Byrne’s one-year anniversary with the airline. For Jen and for dad and veteran pilot Scott Byrne, who has been a pilot for American Airlines since 1990, it was an incredibly special moment. Jen says she’d been dreaming of this exact moment since she was eight years old and decided she wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps.
Getting to this moment was a long time coming for Jen. The 2007 graduate of Southern Illinois, Carbondale earned her bachelor’s degree in Aviation Management and Flight, and upon graduation went on to numerous aviation-related internships and jobs before landing her current position as First Officer at American Airlines last March, according to her LinkedIn profile.
But despite the fact that she is following in her father’s footsteps, Jen said that it was her mother who kept her motivated and moving toward her goals. On Jen and Scott’s first flight together on Wednesday, mom was there, too — as a passenger. Scott also credits his wife for his daughter’s presence by his side on Wednesday. “Every credit goes to my wife,” Scott told the Associated Press.
Scott may have given his wife all the credit, but he was definitely still a very proud papa on Wednesday’s special flight.
Jenny was such a natural. She did an absolutely fantastic job. And it's my 28-year-old daughter. I am so proud.
For Jenny, hearing those words from her dad was a huge relief. While the two were so busy doing pre-flight requirements that she almost forgot her dad was sitting by her side, she definitely remembered his presence when it came to touch down. She wanted to nail the landing to impress her dad, who she calls her “hero.”
I was just praying it would be a good landing. I looked over at him and he was smiling and it was the best feeling in the world.
She managed to pull of that good landing she’d been praying for. But moreover, she also pulled off achieving a landmark moment in a long journey toward making her dream a reality. What better way to celebrate a first year on the job than with your hero and your father by your side?
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