Erika Armstrong (née Hagen) is a commercial airline pilot, published author, editor, aviation journalist, Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, Keynote Speaker and professor of aviation science.
Armstrong is the author of the bestselling book A Chick in the Cockpit: My Life Up in the Air, which was published by Behler Publications in 2016.
Armstrong was born in Seattle, Washington, and given up for adoption to Geraldine and Charles Hagen. At age five, she moved with her family to Edina, Minnesota. Armstrong graduated from Edina High School, where she was the yearbook editor. She attended the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis to study journalism at the same time as Cheryl Strayed, whom she later met in Denver, Colorado. During her junior year in college, she became a CSR at Elliott Beechcraft at the Flying Cloud Airport and began flight lessons at General Aviation Services.
Armstrong's first aviation job during college was working the front desk at a Fixed Based Operator at FCM. She was cross-trained in the maintenance department, accounting, charter scheduling, dispatch, avionics, parts, shipping and during her employment, she worked with the line department where everyone was learning how to fly. At 19, Armstrong soloed her first airplane. She earned her private, instrument, commercial, seaplane, aerobatic, and multi-engine rating while at FCM. Her first paid pilot position was copilot in a King Air 90.
She then became a 24/7 air ambulance, charter, cargo, hazmat, and corporate pilot flying the King Air series and typed in the Cessna Citation 500 series. She was Flight Safety and SimuFlite trained in the Falcon 20 and Citation and flew the King Air 90, 100, 250, 300 and Citation I, II, III, VII, Cessna 414 and 402. She also has time in A GIIB. She earned her Airline Transport License (ATP) in the Citation 550. She was then hired by a company at the St. Paul Downtown Airport. During this time, Northwest Airlines bought MLT Vacations and a fleet of Boeing 727s and operated under the name Champion Air. Armstrong was hired as a Flight Engineer and within a year was promoted to First Officer and at the age of thirty, was made captain and earned her type-rating on the B727. She is a Professor of Aviation at Metropolitan State University in Denver and is Director of Instructional Design and VP of Business Development at Advanced Aircrew Academy. Her articles can be found in Plane & Pilot, Flying.com, Disciples of Flight, Mentor, Contrails, Business Insider and NYC Aviation. Consistent 427,000 aviation geek/enthusiast followers from around the globe.
- Pilot Shortage
- Consumer Affairs
- My Weekend with a Kamikazee Pilot
- Flying Forearm Smash
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