Reaching Possibilities 30,000 feet In the Air with Jena Pelletier
Valedictorian, Air Force veteran, pilot, mother, and wife. All these accomplishments take dedication and for Santa Clarita resident, Jena Pelletier she attributes her success to working hard and staying focused.
After graduating high school as valedictorian, Jena went on to the Airforce Academy to play volleyball, here she discovered her interest in flying. “…I had no idea what the military was all about, no one in my family was prior military, so it came down to the night we had to put in our preferences for what career path we wanted to go on and I didn’t want to regret not doing it”. At the academy, she was one of few women to take on the rigorous journey to becoming a pilot. Although this industry is male dominated, she found that hard work and good grades are what make your way not your gender. “I was the only girl in my pilot’s training class and was treated like one of the guys. You study, you do your best and your graded off your skill not your gender.” For Jena, getting good grades and staying confident in her abilities garnered her a 4.0 GPA in her masters, graduating in the top 15 percent in her class at the academy, and she was able to get her first choice of airplanes out of flight school.
At the Airforce Academy Jena met her husband of 13 years, Seth. “We got married in 2006 at the Justice of the Piece in Del Rio, Texas” Both pilots and both still in the Air Force Reserves, in their relationship they have a better understanding that most do not. “Being a pilot is a pretty demanding lifestyle, we are away from home a lot, we work a lot but it helps because we have the same circle of friends and co-workers and we understand the lifestyle.” A typical day in Jena’s life as a pilot consist of safety training, fuel checks, and extensively going over the flight plan and the plane to ensure everything is in top shape several hours before the flight. “For the Air Force, we usual mission plan the day before… a lot of briefing and talking and crew coordination before the flight takes off.”
When she is not flying for her country or flying for work she is mom to beautiful five-year-old, Julia who might someday become a pilot just like her parents. “I have no idea but she does like flying ask if we can wake up to fly and see her grandparents in Maine.” The pilot life is not easy but she loves it and for the past 12 years she really enjoys what she does despite the long road of challenges, education and training to become a pilot. “I want people to know I am not special in any way, I just worked hard and got good grades and that is what opened so many doors for me. Anyone wishing to become a pilot should know that it is a very rewarding job and it’s a lot of fun but to become one; you have to study hard and stay confident in yourself.”
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