Shandi Keller is someone we knew we wanted to speak to due to her accomplishments as a helicopter pilot in the Army and as an instructor for other pilots. We were fortunate she was able to stop by the day before moving to a new training station so we could record this interview. In this episode, she discusses how she decided to enlist in the Army, what she did to prepare, and what she did to move up through ranks during her time in the Army. She also discusses ways to enter the military with a higher rank, different pathways to becoming a pilot in the military, and some misconceptions people may have regarding those in the military. One of the biggest takeaways is the importance of networking at every level, from sitting down with people who do the job that interests you, to making sure those who evaluate or rank you know who you are. It is important not only to make a name for yourself by doing your best, but to maintain your integrity in a small community where your reputation will most likely precede you.
1:48 High school, decision to join Army and preparation to enlist
6:10 How long were you a Medevac pilot and how did you transition out of active duty?
8:55 Typical day as Instructor
10:00 Favorite part and challenges of job
12:32 Most memorable moments
19:55 Advice for someone wanting to be a pilot in the military?
27:00 What does she know now that she wishes she would have known earlier?
30:34 Any misconceptions about the military she would like to address?
FAA – Becoming a Pilot
US Army – UH60 Repairer (15T) ,
US Army – Aircraft, Helicopters and UAV
Book – Shoot Like a Girl Story of Medevac pilot Air National Guard major Mary Jennings “MJ” Hegar
Book – Danger Close Story of Kiowa pilot Amber Smith