As Bob Dylan sang, “The Times They Are A-Changin.” A pair of mother-daughter pilot teams, one at FedEx and the other at United Airlines, is making history as we reflect upon Mother’s Day and the changing face of aviation.
Mother-Daughter Pilot Teams Make History At FedEx & United Airlines
United Captain Brenda Patterson grew up in Denver wanting to be an airline pilot. It proved not be a transitory phase and after completing flight school, she was hired by United in 1990. 33 years later she is an LAX-based captain…and her own daughter, Brooke, has now followed in her footsteps.
As the daughter of a pilot, Brooke grew up with a flight pass and was able to travel the world, falling in love not just with travel but with flying itself. She also went to flight school, flew for regionals, then was eventually hired by United mainline. Now she flies Dreamliners as well.
Recently, a long-held dream of both Brenda and Brooke was realized when the two were able to pilot a United flight together. Brooke offered a lovely tribute to her mother at the gate at LAX:
Like mother, like daughter. 👩✈️👩✈️#MothersDay pic.twitter.com/MF1kUhgTVL
— United Airlines (@united) May 14, 2023
The two will soon fly from Los Angeles to Melbourne together. But they will not be the first mother-daughter team to pilot an international flight together.
That honor goes to Teri Eidson and her daughter, Nicole McAllister, who just made history as the first mother-daughter team to co-pilot an international flight. They fly for FedEx and have a similar story.
CBS covered their story:
These are nice stories and I particularly congratulate Teri and Brenda, who inspired their daughters to follow in thier footsteps. They must have been doing something right! FedEx doesn’t offer passenger service (any longer), but I hope to fly with Brenda and Brooke on a future flight!
image: @UnitedAirlines / Twitter
I know the airline PR department presents this paring as a “cozy feel good” situation.
However, I would not want to be a PAX on a plane where the pilot and first officer are this closely related.
Lost of smiling faces, but YOU NEVER KNOW what deep seated feelings may erupt while in control.
If in doubt, just think of the last time you saw a fight break out between a husband & wife.
Such a situation can easily surface between a parent and offspring.
You have me thinking of Come Fly With Me!
You’ll have to explain to me why its more likely that two people related to each other will get into a fight in the cockpit then two random coworkers who don’t like each other for whatever reason.
As one of seven siblings, no offspring is ever treated equally compared to other siblings.
Even a single child is treated differently by each parent no matter what Mom & Dad say in public!!
Each knows the other’s weaknesses and strengths living that close to each other for 18+ years.
One cross word, one hard stare, one derogatory comment (why you still see that guy?) and underlying resentment comes to the surface in a flash!!
I feel sorry for your horrible childhood. I would say that my family (and close relatives) are not like that. It’s not perfect but it ain’t one short fuse away from detonation either.
Squabbling sometimes but I can say I would put more trust than anyone on earth
I think you watch too many reruns of the Waltons!!
I know too many doctors, lawyers, and other professionals with family issues.
I don’t want to find out about their issues at 35,000 feet.
People have to find the negative in something, I guess?
Nice story. I’ll add this observation regarding other stories about the exceptional wage differential between senior pilots on airlines and the regionals. This wage disparity creates severe financial and personal hardships for young pilots starting out particularly those in low income families who won’t have the support structure in place to help them get through it.
For example: Brenda Patterson starting out as a regional pilot may have had to balance motherhood and her pilot job perhaps with the father helping out and the same for male pilots who are low paid in the regionals having to get their wife to help carry the load as well. It’s tough and this stress not only discourages some from pursuing this career but also undermines their career objectives. Similar stress notoriously occurs in military families.
Wage disparities need to be less extreme with senior pilots getting paid less, but young pilots getting paid more, so it balances out among the whole workforce and “balances” their life and work.
Such a great story on so many levels. I love this stuff. But then the cynic in me wonders if they will be the first mother/daughter to walk a picket line together.
What a wonderful story….fantastic
Great story, and reading Exit Rows comments above, I would say as professionals, I would not worry about an issue like that. However, it’s an un-written rule, the CO and XO of squadrons are not supposed to fly together. Obvious reason is if the plane goes down, there is a loss of leadership. Even though flying is the safest way to travel, my concern would be if something happened to the plane and two close relatives like this lost their lives.
She appears young to be flying a dream liner- maybe this is an old-fashioned idea, but experience matters and judging from her age!!!!