Photo courtesy of Mick Seemann
My mother, Kitty Banner Seemann started K2 Aviation in the late 70s operating out of Talkeetna, Alaska; flying hikers, hunters and other sportsman on and off of Mount McKinley, also known as Denali. She would land on floats, skis or wheels. A tailwheel that is. Kitty was one of the pioneering women of bush flying in Alaska. To this day, her voice is an octave lower than the average female. Unbeknownst to me for years, she explained that she trained herself to speak with a deeper tone so that she would sound more like a male over the radio, simply to be treated fairly in the skies. Despite living in a man's world, she ran a successful operation and kept clients safe while navigating throughout the alpine terrain.
Back in college, flying became my way of life. Each rating I achieved was a new way to connect with my mother who has, after all this time, kept her CFI rating current. I began flight instructing while finishing up school and even convinced my brother, an even more avid skier than myself, to take to the skies. Before leaving Bozeman, I was fortunate enough to instruct him through his instrument rating. My dad, a long lost private pilot, also got onboard. Truly a family affair! Eventually my parents invested in a family plane; a tailwheel ironically, which isn’t the easiest bird for a couple of rusty old pilots who had been busy parenting for so long. We fly our American Champion Scout every day in the summertime, switching who gets to sit in front and later bragging about who had the day’s smoothest three point landing. Modest as she is, my mother usually wins.
As of now I am a newly recruited First Officer for a regional airline. Being a pilot will be my vocation for life and I can only thank my mother Kitty, the Alaskan Bush Pilot.