Aviation pilot Ramona Cox has a reason to be flying high this month after being chosen as the December "Pilot of the Month" by the Maryland-based Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
Cox, also known as “SkyChick,” has been flying for more than 20 years. Flying became a hobby for her when Cox, who is also an avid skier, realized she could reach the slopes that much faster by plane.
“I was ski racing, and I decided if I could get to Mammoth in two hours instead of six or seven, it would give me a distinct advantage in terms of being able to enjoy the snow sking prior to the race beginning,” said Cox who works on her website in Marina del Rey.
However, Cox said flying was already in her blood, thanks to having a father who flew planes and a half-brother who was an Air Force pilot.
While she never flew with either relative, she said both men definitely inspired her due to conversations she had with them about flying.
“It was just fascinating as a child to hear these amazing flying stories,” Cox said. “It wasn’t until after I started flying that I realized flying itself is just an amazing, exhilarating, rewarding, gratifying experience.”
Cox has even been able to incorporate her passion for her flying into her work as a sales executive for MotoArt, an El Segundo-based company that specializes in taking vintage aircraft parts and transforming them into “functional, corporate furniture,” Cox said.
However, discovering flying for herself as an adult had its share of challenges in the beginning primarily as a result of the fact she is only five feet tall.
“I realized I couldn’t see over the panel, and I couldn’t reach the rudder pedals,” Cox said of her first flying lesson. “So we had to cancel that lesson, and the next time I came back with pillows.”
Cox, whose nickname is “Skychick,” didn’t let the obstacles stop her, and she said it is important to her to serve as an example of doing your best to accomplish your dreams.
“I was afraid at first, and I needed to break through that fear and make a decision that I was going to accomplish this goal,” she said.
Cox was chosen as the December "Pilot of the Month" by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, or AOPA, because she "exemplifies the best of what pilots stand for," according to AOPA spokesman Steve Hedges.
"She is a skilled aviator who has a passion for flying and a profound consideration for both aviation and the world around her," Hedges said. "AOPA highlights pilots who have dedicated themselves to pursuing and protecting the freedom to fly, and who have broad and unique interests and backgrounds. Without question Ramona should be counted among this group."
Outside of work and flying to destinations as far away as Alaska, Canada and Wisconsin, Cox enjoys speaking to women’s organizations, aviation classes at schools and local civic groups.
“What I do in my talks is try to inspire people,” Cox said. “I don’t care what your passion is. Find a passion, set your goal and do your best to focus on that goal. Attain it to live your dreams.”