Kristina has been affiliated with aviation since birth. She was born an Air Force brat, and her father was a crew chief on the F-111’s. Living on Air Force bases for most of her life meant that she never missed an air show, got to visit the flight-line to get an up-close encounter with the military’s head aviators and navigators, and was often lulled to sleep by the sweet sounds of jet engines blasting up into the night.
When she was 15 she participated in JROTC in high school and then in ROTC in college, during which time she got her first shot at an Army Blackhawk simulator.
From 1997 to 2007 she lived in Alaska, where aviation provides more than just a means of travel; in Alaska, general aviation is a way of life. Everyone she knew was either a pilot, or owned a plane, or relied on GA aircraft to get from their rural village to the nearest city, or to fly them to their best salmon fishing spot. After her first flight in a super-cub Kristina knew she couldn’t just be a passenger, she wanted to be the pilot.
Majoring in aviation technology and professional piloting, at the University of Alaska Anchorage, she earned her private pilot license in a Diamond Katana (DA-20), and began her instrument flight training. However, just piloting the plane wasn’t enough. She wanted to know how to fix the plane if something were to go wrong…which in Alaska things often do. So, in 2004 she joined the military, the Alaska Air National Guard, as an Aerospace Propulsion Technician, (a fancy title for a C-130 engine mechanic). For 4 years Kristina performed maintenance on air refueling, and search and rescue C-130H’s and HC-130’s, as well as the occasional HH-60 helicopter.
Kristina has always found flying magical, and liberating. She said it best “I’ve found my passion, and I’m taking it all the way.”