DVIDS – News – Reserve philanthropist develops online course to help others fly


When she was little, Captain Kristin “Nikki” Bodie, a pilot of the 77th KC-46 Air Refueling Squadron, used to lie in the grass with her grandmother at their farm in the Saluda countryside. , South Carolina, and watch nearby fighter jets. Shaw Air Force Base and McEntire Joint National Guard Base fly overhead, wondering where they were going and what it would be like to fly through the clouds.

Her journey to becoming an Air Force pilot took years and she flew all over the world to achieve her goal, but Bodie took the things she learned and developed an online course to help others find their way more easily.

“Girls Don’t Fly”

Bodie remembers sitting in church from the age of 5, hearing the preacher talk about serving in the military or as a missionary and thinking, “He’s talking about me. One day I will leave my family and serve.

His love of looking at airplanes spurred a strong desire to fly them.

“Every time I talked about becoming a pilot, the teachers at school were like, ‘Girls don’t do that,'” Bodie said. “I didn’t know any female pilots, so I believed them – until I got to college and a good friend took flying lessons and asked me if I wanted to fly.”

Bodie, who was attending Clemson University, immediately fell in love with being in the air.

Determined to become a professional pilot, she enrolled in a program at Embry Riddle University. Upon completing her MBA in Aviation Management and obtaining her flight qualifications, Bodie landed her first pilot job performing aerial surveys in a Cessna 172. As a brand new pilot, she was in charge of all aspects of each mission, from coordination to logistics, supply and maintenance.

“It taught me a lot about myself as a person and a pilot,” she said. “I was out there traveling the country on my own with nothing but my suitcase and this tiny little plane. It took me out of my comfort zone and made me feel more confident.

give back

After eight months, Bodie began flying mapping missions in King Air 200s, working seven days on seven days off. Seeking to occupy his spare time, Bodie found Wings of Hope, a humanitarian organization that flies to far-flung places to provide life-saving interventions to people who have never had the chance to see a doctor.

This mission was close to his heart for personal reasons.

“When I was about 8 years old, I saw my cousin Loren battling leukemia, so it meant a lot to me to be on these missions,” Bodie said. “When my cousin died, it had such an impact; all my life i knew i had to give back.

As the only young woman to volunteer, Bodie had to work hard to build her credibility there.

“I would clean the shed, mop the floor and trade apple dumplings and pecan pie to learn,” she said.

There she learned to weld, overhaul engines, shift gears, fabricate, upholster and more. After a few months, she began transporting children with terminal illnesses and disabilities across the country for treatment.

Bodie became more and more involved with Wings of Hope, eventually becoming a board member and helping on a global level. She also began volunteering with the organization’s SOAR into STEM summer program, partnering with Boeing to bring high-risk youth into the hangar for mentorship.

“We were talking about the military and showing them how to get into and pay for college, to help them get out of the situations they were in and into something fulfilling,” she said.

Become a citizen aviator

“Right from the minute I first flew at Clemson in 2009, I wanted to join the military,” Bodie said. “For years I tried to email my package to every unit I was interested in and got no response.”

By 2015, Bodie had completed her MBA, fully assessed, and was working for Republic Airlines as a first officer flying the Embraer 170. For all those years, that nagging feeling that she would serve in the military had kept her busy. never left.

Standing out among her peers with a superior education and 3,000 flying hours, she was selected for officer training school and undergraduate pilot training after a recruiter suggested Bodie put on a no-show package. sponsored. Several squadrons called her to interview her, and she joined the 916th Air Refueling Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, as a KC-135R Stratotanker pilot.

“It was a backwards way of doing things and a very difficult way to get into the reserves,” said Bodie, who jokes that she had to fly all around the world to achieve her goal of serving in the reserve. ‘army.

Forging an Affordable Path for Others

Driven by a desire to help others streamline the process of getting a pilot’s license, joining the military, and volunteering, Bodie found and contacted BogiDope, a career counseling resource in the aviation, and became their first female trainer. For a year, Bodie researched and compiled all the best resources in “Affordable Pathways to Launching Your Career in Aviation,” a free online course for aspiring aviators. It contains scholarship information, tips on how to create a winning application, detailed explanations of military assistance programs for enlisted personnel, and information on tools and resources available to aspiring and current pilots. .

“If it helps a person win a scholarship or find a path they didn’t know, the whole year of working on it and the years of building are worth it,” she said.

Bodie has aided several Airmen in his reserve unit, including Senior Airman Antonio Frost, a KC-46 crew chief from Florence, South Carolina, who is entering his senior year of college hoping to command and become a pilot.

“If she didn’t help me, I would probably pay the rest of my flying hours out of my own pocket,” said Frost, who is applying for a $20,000 scholarship with Bodie’s help. “She showed me the scholarships and grants online course and helps me write an essay and submit other materials.”

While volunteering at a convention for military airmen, Bodie’s dream of flying for a major airline came true. She now flies the Airbus 320 as a first officer for American Airlines in addition to her Air Force Reserve service and spends countless hours pouring out to others through a myriad of outlets. philanthropic sales. Bodie is now vice president of the North Carolina chapter of Women in Aviation, which awards women scholarships to fly internationally.

“I always thought my gift was aviation,” Bodie said. “During COVID, when everything was on pause, I had an epiphany: my gift is not stealing, my gift is my compassion and love for people and wanting to help them in any way possible. God gave me airplanes as a vehicle to spread my compassion further. I still would, but with airplanes I can do it on a larger scale around the world.

To access Bodie’s free online course, visit https://bogidope.com/courses/affordable/

Date taken: 17.08.2022
Date posted: 17.08.2022 16:41
Story ID: 427450

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