Aviation Communication

Meridith Killian

“I always wanted to fly, since I was a little girl.”

Like many “Aviation Geeks,” our Director of Business Development, Meridith Killian’s Pilot Journey started as a kid. She dreamt of being a pilot in the Air Force, but figured it was a pipe dream and pursued other careers. That is, until her husband bought her an Aerobatic Thrill ride for her 35th Birthday and she took a flight in the Pitts biplane. She was hooked.

“I like rollercoasters, and I’m kind of a thrill junkie so I was sold.”

Even though she was in physical therapy school, all she could talk about was the flight.

“Finally, my husband was like, ‘Do you want to be a physical therapist or a pilot?’ and I was like, “Is that even a question?’ And right then, we both knew I was going to be a pilot.”

She got her private pilot license in a Super Decathlon at Four Winds in McKinney, and has since mastered her passion of flying, now teaching part-time as a Tailwheel and Aerobatics Instructor. She loves getting to share her passion for flying with others, and her favorite thing is helping students push through the tough moments in their training.

“Just seeing that accomplishment and knowing that I got to help with it is probably one of the most satisfying things,” she said.

However, Meridith still recalls her own personal struggles learning radio, a few instances standing out in her mind. Though she had trained hard for her Instrument Rating Certification, when it came time to fly, it wasn’t enough.

“I had practiced all these specific approaches for a stage check I was supposed to do with the normal Texas winds out of the south, but when we got up into the air the winds were different, and I wasn’t prepared for it.”

She froze not knowing how to communicate with the Air Traffic Controller.

“I had to be able to show that I could do it without assistance, without anyone else. But I failed and couldn’t do it. I had to go back into training and redo it. Cost me $2500.”

That’s why she was so excited to join the Talk2Tower program.

“There’s a huge boost of confidence when you know what to say to Air Traffic Control. Talk2Tower gives pilots the chance to learn these radio skills without the chaos of the cockpit, and it would have saved me $3000!”

And her advice to all the pilots who are out there still trying to achieve their lifelong dreams of flying? Meridith says to hang in there, even when it gets tough.

“You need to eat, breathe, and blink airplanes… the more invested you are, the more you’re going to get. Stay inspired.”