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Captain Elizabeth Kruchek Chases Her Dreams on the Wings of Encouragement

January 10, 2023

Captain Elizabeth Kruchek Chases Her Dreams on the Wings of Encouragement

My story is unique, as I stumbled into aviation. My mom was involved in skydiving and happened to meet a Certified Flight Instructor named Joni Dimond at one of her jumps. I was gifted an introductory flight lesson as a college graduation gift. It was love at first flight.

My parents were always very encouraging of my independence. I was raised to believe anything I put my mind to I could achieve. There is a small flying club called Grassroots Aviation (66G) based out of Frankenmuth MI. It’s where I learned to fly. The women in that club were always so supportive of me to keep applying and keep pushing myself, as well as lifting me up. They are: Joni Dimond, Suzy Kryzanowicz, Julie Dunk, and my mom, Susan Merrell.

Joni encouraged me to explore options with the military. At 25 years old, I got a late start in my military aviation career, but it’s opened a whole new world that I never would have imagined. Having the opportunity to work in aviation was a perfect fit for my adventurous spirit. Juggling multiple airframes and a commitment with both an airline and the Army Reserve is no small feat, but it is absolutely rewarding.

Changing the narrative is integral and showing up every day to do my job is helping to change that narrative. It makes seeing women in aviation normal. Little girls and boys can see me flying and know that they can someday do that too. I never knew aviation was an option because I just didn’t know any pilots growing up. If you step back and think about the opportunities available to our grandparents versus those we have today, we have really come a long way in terms of gender roles. Aviation, like many careers in STEM, weren’t advertised to little girls when I was a kid. It’s getting better, and the industry will benefit from more smart and intuitive people entering the ranks – regardless of gender.

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