American Airlines aircraft Line Maintenance Supervisor William Rodriguez has recently celebrated a proud father-daughter moment as his child Maxine Rodriguez becomes a First Officer for the very same airline.
A Childhood Dream
For Mr William Rodriguez, working within the aviation industry was a childhood dream that he was able to successfully achieve. From a young age, Rodriguez claimed that he alongside his family would often visit Newark Liberty International Airport observation deck and ‘watch planes take off in the sunset’. It was these very special moments shared that made him realise that he wanted an active role in helping this process happen. This small wish led to the Line Maintenance supervisor eventually dedicating a total of 42 years of his life to the aviation industry, with eight years being spent working for American Airlines.
Like Father Like Daughter
Daughter Maxine shared with American Airlines Newsroom that it was witnessing her father’s love for his career at American Airlines when she was a child that inspired her to follow in his footsteps. This led to her studying at a local flight school and engaging in an ‘uncharted course to become a pilot’ with her father’s never-ending support. Maxine has expressed just how much her father’s support pushed her to get her dream career.
“I’m daddy’s little girl. He’s my idol, and I wanted to be just like him, my dad taught us to achieve more, work hard and fast. I was ready to become a pilot, and I was ready to get started right away.”
This is not the first time that children of aviation workers have been inspired to pursue similar careers to their parents. In early September, Hawaiian Airlines welcomed their very first mother-daughter pilot duo, marking a proud moment for mother Captain Kamelia Zarka who has worked for the airline industry since 1992.
Though supported by her family, this was not the easiest journey for the then-aspiring pilot to achieve, particularly due to being both female and an ethnic minority. However, these barriers did not stop her, and earlier this year 26-year-old Rodriguez was finally offered a position as First Officer at American Airlines. This made Maxine ‘one of the youngest female Hispanic pilots’ at American Airlines, a huge achievement for not only Maxine and her family yet the airline too. The young pilot has opened up about how supporting young Latina females with the same dream means to her.
“Being Latina in aviation is unfortunately pretty rare. I had a lot of hurdles, but my dad taught me, tough love,” she explains. “I know everyone doesn’t have that same guidance, so I feel responsible to help lead the way. I now have little Latina girls looking up to me as a role model and I want them to hold on tight, because the view is worth it in the end.”
This is a remarkable story that deserves to be celebrated and a great milestone for American Airlines! Share your thoughts on this below.