A photo of a mother-daughter duo after they flew a cross-country flight together has gone viral, and sparked a conversation about the need for more women pilots.
On March 16, Dr. John R. Watret, chancellor of the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, tweeted a photo of Capt. Wendy Rexon and her daughter, First Officer Kelly Rexon, in the flight deck after the pair piloted a Delta Boeing 757 from Los Angeles to Atlanta. Watret was a passenger on the flight after he returned to the U.S. from the Embry-Riddle Asia campus in Singapore.
“Just flew from LAX to ATL on Delta piloted by this mother daughter flight crew," Watret tweeted. "Great Flight. Inspiring for young women.”
Watret learned that the Rexons were flying the plane after overhearing a woman ask a flight attendant if her two children could visit the flight deck, according to a press release from Embry-Riddle.
The flight attendant replied yes, adding that they would be surprised when they got there, Watret said. When they returned, he then overheard them talking about a mother and daughter piloting the plane, prompting Watret to ask permission to visit them as well.
"I thought that was amazing," he said. "I was in awe."
There are actually three women pilots in the family. Kelly Rexon's sister is also a pilot, according to Embry-Riddle, which said it makes a "commitment to creating more opportunities for women in all areas of the aviation industry."
Over the next 20 years, the aviation industry will require 790,000 new pilots and 754,000 new maintenance technicians, according to Boeing.
"There has to be more diversification in the industry,” Watret said. “It’s crucial and one of the key factors we focus on. When there are more opportunities, everyone wins."