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0:07 - Journey to UD: Introduction

1:12 - Journey to UD: Spark of Interest

2:29 - Journey to UD: Role models

2:48 - Journey to UD: Choosing UD

3:55 - Journey to UD: First Memories

5:24 - While at UD: Favorite classes

6:05 - While at UD: Alpha Eta Rho

7:10 - While at UD: Flight Team

8:48 - While at UD: The Belltower

10:19 - Coming Back to UD

11:55 - While at UD: Memorable Flight Instructors

12:58 - While at UD: First Solo Flight

14:01 - While at UD: Negative Flight Experience

16:14 - Women in Aviation

17:32 - After UD

19:09 - Balancing Family & Work

19:50 - Current Profession

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Keywords: Air-Carrier Transportation Branch; FAA; sUAS

21:31 - APEX

22:00 - Male-to-Female Ratio

24:30 - Did UD Prepare You?

24:50 - Staying in Contact


Christopher Doll: My Chris Doll and I am the archivist at the University of Dubuque. The date is May 30th and the time is 8:31.

Racheal Keating: My name is Racheal Keating. Spelled R-A-C-H-E-L, last name is K-E-A-T-I-N-G.

CD: And what year did you graduate from the University of Dubuque?

RK: In 2001.

CD: And what did you major in?

RK: Flight Operations

CD: So did you begin with can you please tell me about your childhood and hometown?

RK: So I grew up in Dubuque and I went to catholic school through high school, and then Dubuque senior high school after that and right after graduating out of there I went to the University of Dubuque. Actually had the opportunity my senior year of high school to take private pilot ground school, through the 1:00partnership between the high school and the college. So I did get a little exposure to the University prior to enrolling officially as freshman.

CD: Do you remember what first sparked your interest in aviation?

RK: I only remember always being interested in aviation. I know as far back in kindergarten because my mom kept picture what he did in school so when I was in kindergarten and they asked "What you want to be when you grow up?" that's what I drew, a big plane and all I remember wanting to do.

CD: Did you have some role models in the aviation world growing up?

RK: I really didn't. I never even flew in an airplane until I was sixteen. I was actually a gift my parents got for me for 16th birthday, my first flight lesson. But I have never go up commercially or done any flying or knew anyone that was a 2:00pilot or had any involvement other than just an aspiration to do it.

CD: Since you grew up in Dubuque, and I should know this since I have been working on this, and I can't remember when it started, but I know they have the Drive-in-Fly-in program to get people in aviation, the breakfast. Did they have that back when you were younger?

RK: I don't think they did, if they did, I was not aware of it.

CD: Do you remember some of you role models were outside of aviation while you were growing up?

RK: For growing up I would say my role models were probably coaches and teachers.

CD: Since the University of Dubuque is in your backyard maybe that's the reason why you decided to attend the University if Dubuque but can you go through the process of why you decided to attend UD?

RK: Sure, I was interested in the aviation program so that was really convenient 3:00to have an aviation program in the town where I grew up. I also had exposure to the program through the classes that I took while I was still in high school so it was just a really good fit. I was looking between the University of Dubuque and Embry Riddle. Which I would also enjoy going to but that was down in Daytona Beach, Florida and while I was excited to leave Iowa and go down there, my student loan debt would have been a lot more, had I done that. So I stayed in Dubuque, there was several grants and several things, like the Dubuque partnership that made it really attractive to stay home and go to school there. I also have some family that have gone there in the past.

CD: You mentioned the classes that you took in high school, were those your first memories of the University of Dubuque or had you been on the campus before then.

RK: No, that was really my first exposure, I didn't even realize that the 4:00University of Dubuque had a flight program, until I was looking at the different options in classes that were part of the partnership through the high school and the college. I was actually not even aware of it up until that point.

CD: That's kind of interesting. Because you didn't know that they had a program had you been to the Dubuque airport when you took you flight lessons at 16.

RK: No, actually I believe, I can't remember where it was but it wasn't in Dubuque, it was one of the smaller airport outside of town. So yeah I never been out to the airport before.

CD: So do you remember your first memories of the Dubuque airport?

RK: Yeah actually, it was just when I was 17 and my brother was going to school in South Carolina and had meet a women out there, and got engaged to get married 5:00so we flew out there to meet her so that was going out to that airport and going on my first commercial type flight.

CD: Okay, I am going to take you back to when you were a student at UD. What are some of the more memorable classes that you took?

RK: I would say all the flight courses really, anything that got me out of the airport, looking at airplanes, flying airplanes. I did get involved at work-study out at the airport so I worked behind the front desk, dispatching planes, and I would be pulling them out and pushing them in at night, getting things ready in the morning or closing up at night. I spent a lot of time out at the airport, and I got involved in Alpha Eta Rho, and I was involved in flight 6:00team, so we were out there practicing for the flight team and different events with Alpha Eta Rho.

CD: Can you tell us a little bit more about your experiences with Alpha Eta Rho?

RK: Alpha Eta Rho was more of a club for us than a service organization, we did do service things but we mostly got involved for the flight breakfast. We did highway clean up one time but more than anything it was getting the flight students that were in flight interested in the club together and working together, learning from each other. We would study together, we would sit down in the common places in the dorms, back before everything was electronic, and roll-out our big maps and plan our cross countries flights, and do things like that, so it was a good experience for me, I enjoyed it.


CD: Well speaking of flights, we do have in our records that you participated in some flight team competitions can you remember some of those?

RK: Yeah.

CD: Can you share some of your fonder memories?

RK: So University of Dubuque was one of the smaller schools. One of the school that we competed against was University of North Dakota so they came in with their team and usually dominated the flight competition, but it was a lot of fun getting to meet different people and interacting and we had a lot of fun perfecting what we were doing. We got to spend some time up in the air traffic control towers, we would go up there and watch other people from the team do spot landings and do different things, so that was a really cool experience to get to spend a lot of time up there and learn about how and what they do up 8:00there and you know what things are from their perspective and everything and to have a different view of what we were doing so that was one of things that I though was really fun about it.

CD: Yeah, actually the competition that you were bringing up, we found an article about it in the Belltower. Reading about it now, it looks like you guys should have won a little more you guys were using the brand new Cessna 172Rs, it should have given you a competitive advantage but I guess they were just too big.

RK: Yeah, no it was a lot of fun, we just did our best and had a lot fun doing it.

CD: Speaking of the Belltower we saw a few articles that were penned by you, so I'm guess you were a part of the Belltower?RK: I was. I was the editor of the Belltower for a couple of years during college.

CD: Any particular stories or memories that you have kept with you that you would like to share with us?


RK: Yeah it was a lot of fun just documenting our college days. We would go out and take pictures of sporting events, of different social events, whatever that was going on, on campus and just kind of do our best to share with the rest of campus. Some of the highlights and some of the fun things that we were doing and give people recognition for achievement and things that were going on and keep everyone informed with what was coming u so it was a good experience and a nice way to document and keep memories of good times.

CD: Well it's good to see that you got involved with stuff outside of aviation too but it looked like you combined your interests too, we found a couple of articles that you have written about aviation and one of the one that I am looking at right now is, you have written about Mike Glynn who had left his position as Chief flight instructor to become a corporate pilot and as we all 10:00know he came back to UD and is a part of this project also. Do you have any memories or stories of Mike Glynn that you would like to share?

RK: Mike Glynn is really a top notch guy, I was really excited when I heard he was coming back to the University of Dubuque and since then I have had an opportunity to work with him, through my new position that I'm working as with the FAA. I was actually the Principle Operations Inspector for University of Dubuque for a few years. So in that positon, I got to come back and meet with Mike and took surveillance on the University of Dubuque aviation program and conduct check-rides for the chief pilots and for students and really get to interact and see how the University of Dubuque has been growing and have chance to see how Mike's leadership has left a positive impact on everything.

CD: Wasn't weird to have to come back and have to evaluate it, it kind of sounds 11:00like a conflict of interest?

RK: Well it has been so much time had passed. We do have certain time lines that we can't get back involved in something we had been a part of but it had been years. Other than the constant of Mike Glynn being there still, it was pretty much all knew people and syllabus and different things have changed since I have been there but it was actually a great experience, I really enjoyed it.

CD: Do you think it made it easier or more difficult having the background knowledge that you did have about UD?

KH: I think it was helpful, I already had a rapport with Mike and I was able to know the kind of programs that the University of Dubuque puts forward so I would say it gave me an advantage I would say.

CD: We already talked about Mike Glynn, were there any other professors that really inspired you while you were at UD? Or flight instructors, or staff members?

RK: I would say probably more so in the flight instructor arena. I worked with 12:00Oscar Balbuena, who is now a 121 pilot, also Mark Gaffney was another one of my primary instructors that I had. He is actually working in the FAA with me now, over in the office in Lincoln Nebraska. So I would say, probably those were couple of the people that I really learned a lot from that helped develop my skills and interest in aviation and that I still to this day have in my social network and professional network.

CD: Unlike some of the other students that I interview you had flight experience before coming to the University of Dubuque but I'm guessing that you had your first solo flight while you were at the school right?

RK: That is correct.

CD: Can you recall your first solo flight.


RK: Oh absolutely. I hadn't done too much flying, I only done a handful of lessons prior to coming into the University of Dubuque, but once I got ready to solo that was just a fantastic day, and it's something that I will never forget. I remember being nervous but being really excited and getting out there at the airport and having my flight instructor sign me off and feeling that the world was my oyster so it was a great experience. Got up and came down, we were going to do our three landings, back in that time they still let us do touch and go's so came down had a little bounce, and got back up and got a little better the second landing and felt really good about the third landing and came back in and it was just a really awesome, exciting experience.


CD: Can you remember your first negative experience in a plane?

RK: I would say that one of the things that I felt probably a negative but reflecting on it, it was a great learning experience. I was doing a night IFR flight and we hit something when we were in the air and it really was unnerving because it was really my first time doing a long cross-country in instrument conditions. So we were blacked-out trusting everything on our instruments I wasn't very comfortable with it, I was with an instructor I was just getting a lesson and getting an exposure to it but we hit something and the engine stopped and 15:00sputtered and without having any visual, our options are going to very limited to try to figure out where we were going to land and the ceilings were pretty low and we would be pretty close to the ground by the time we would have a visual to pick our safest landing spot, so that was a nervous experience but we were able to get the engine started back up in the air, so it ended up being a nonevent. And then when we get landed we figure out that we hit a bird, there was some blood and feathers on the plane, it had got into the engine but it shook loose and we were able to get the prop going again.

CD: I think I would be pretty terrified if that happened to me.

RK: But it was a really good experience because it taught me a lot about going through the checklist, doing all the things we were trained to do and talking to air traffic controller and letting them guide you, it was almost the perfect 16:00scenario because you couldn't create training like that and everything being perfect, so it was a great experience.

CD: In the past or currently were you involved in Women in Aviation International?

RK: I have been involved just as a membership but I haven't been participating in any of their events.

CD: Do you know the women-to-men were in the aviation department while you were there? I don't need an exact 5-to-1 or anything but do you remember?

RK: Yeah, I think our class was about fifty people and we had two.

CD: Oh, alright. So do you feel that being a women in the aviation department was an obstacle overcome or did it open more doors for you, or do you think it was a non-factor?

RK: I think it was a non-factor during school, I don't think 17:00there was any problems that I had based on that in school but when I got out into the industry there was definitely some setbacks. I had some people that straight up refused to fly with me, I have had people tell me "We didn't know we were going to have a flight attendant, where is the pilot?"

CD: Oh boy. That's kind of the same story I have been hearing thus far in the interviews. People were saying in UD it wasn't an issue but afterwards, there 18:00have been quite a few stories that have been shared. Well I guess we will build up to that, what did you do after you graduated?

RK: So after I graduated from UD, I moved out to the De Moines area and I was a flight instructor at a small airport just north of the Ankeny airport, Todd's flying service, and I worked out there for a year and then I got a job at the Ankeny regional airport. Once I was at the Ankeny airport, that airport had a lot more students and a lot of things going on so I was able to start getting involved in charter and getting involved in different areas of the community as far as contract flying and pilot service and getting involved with trips in corporate flight departments as well.

CD: Is that where you got the flight attendant comment?

RK: I'm sorry where I got the what?

CD: Oh, where they questioned whether you were an instructor or a flight attendant, was it there?

RK: Oh, yep. ON 135 charter flights, some people that would come out for a charter flight didn't have a lot of experience in small planes and so there was more nervousness so that was when I people say they wouldn't fly with me. Especially during the time I was pregnant. I think people that I was going to 19:00end up having a baby in the air and they didn't want to be a part of it.

CD: Was it difficult to juggle a family and a career in aviation?

RK: Yeah, I think it was. Aviation is a sort of an on call job, a least the positions that I was in. So I would be with my kids, going to soccer games and I would have a call and I would have to go get out of there and get ready to go flying, so there was some challenges associated with it.

CD: Where there other women that worked there that you could share or support or any of that?

RK: there were other women that I worked with at the airport but that were not also pilots.

CD: So the majority of the other pilots were male?

RK: Yes.


CD: And what do you do now?

RK: So, currently I am part of the air-carrier transportation branch for the FAA. SO I am working with the unmanned aerial systems and helping to coordinate the introduction of the UAS into the NAS as far as the 135 regulations for package carrying and cargo type operations.


CD: For the people that will hopefully listen to this and aren't necessarily aviation experts can you explain some of those acronyms or what that means?

RK: So what we are working on is having the drones or the small unmanned aerial systems taking packages and taking them across the nation. So eventually the goal is to accommodate all of these unmanned devices and be able to have them coming up to different business or homes or places and having them deliver cargo and packages that way.

CD: So is this something that's going to happen?

RK: Well we are working hard to make it happen and it should happen unless get into some type of snag or something that appears to be unsafe. It's certainly to our highest priority to keep the airspace safe so we would never permit anything to happen if we find that the risk is too high and we are working right now to mitigate those risks and to open the route to be able to do that.

CD: Are you familiar with what apex is at the University of Dubuque?

RK: Yes.


CD: We had quite a few APEX poster on what you were taking about, this spring we had about 4-5 so it is something that the rest of the aviation world at least at UD they are interested in what you are doing cause I saw a whole bunch of posters on that. Did you participate at APEX when you were at UD?

RK: I don't believe that we had it at that time.

CD: Oh ok. So, at your current role at the FAA do you feel, or is the ratio of males-to-females pretty even or is it still pretty male dominated?

RK: It is not as male dominated as previous roles, there are different women that I work with in the industry and in my position now I work with people that are not necessarily pilots I work with a lot of engineers, I work with mechanics, I work with people that are cabin safety, people who are human resources so my exposure to a work force I would say having women in it is a much more normal ratio. However the people that I work with that have a pilot background I would say a much smaller ratio.

CD: And so you still fly?


RK: I do.

CD: Professionally, recreationally, whenever you can or what type of flight?

RK: So I was flying as an inspector at the FAA until I took up this program with the unmanned systems, so that was about a year and a half ago and since that time I have been continuing to fly but only recreationally though but I was up flying a couple of weeks ago, I stay pretty current and I go up to have fun now.

CD: Because you work so closely with drones or unmanned, or what did you call them unmanned?

RK: UAS, yep unmanned aerial systems.

CD: Are you a fan of those do you fly them on your free time or is that something that you just do for work?

RK: I do, actually my son has gotten really interested in them so he has one of 24:00the DJI-Phantoms so I have been able to go out with him and play around with that a little bit. He's had a lot of fun with it.

CD: Did you know there's a large following in Dubuque now?

RK: Oh really, I wasn't aware.

CD: Yeah there's uh, if you remember where the children's, oh gosh it's not really a children's zoo, Stonybrook children's zoo.

RK: Oh Storybook.

CD: Yeah behind there's a big field and they get together all the time and fly up there. So I guess if you bring your children back to Dubuque you might have to look that up.

RK: Yeah that would be great.

CD: Just a few questions left, do you feel that the UD aviation program prepared you for your professional life?

RK: I do. I think I learned a lot at the University of Dubuque and made good 25:00contacts that helped me to succeed after graduation.

CD: Do you still come back to UD or do you do anything for graduation, are you still in contacts with friends or classmates or professors?


RK: I am. Actually another group that I was a part of when I was at the University of Dubuque was a sorority was Theta Phi and that was people that I kept in closest contact with. Actually I am heading to Chicago this weekend for my friend Sarah White turning 40, she was one of my sorority sisters and having her 40th birthday so I will be seeing a lot of UD friends at that party and mostly social for that group but as far as connecting on LinkedIn and connecting on Facebook I got a lot of different people in aviation that I worked with. When I decided to work with the FAA I was able to call up Mark Gaffney who was my previous flight instructor and currently working in the FAA and get some information from him and get some background on it to make my decision if it was something that I wanted to do so I am still maintain some of those relationships.

CD: And then the last question. What are some your hopes for the future?

RK: My hopes for the future are that you know-

CD: Do you still on being with the FAA or do you want to get back into flying, I guess I should have been more specific, not world peace or anything.

RK: Sure. I think the FAA is going to be a lifelong career for me. The thing that I love about the FAA is that there is so many things you can do within it and if I do decide that I want to start flying again there is opportunities for me to do that within the FAA or if I want to stay the unmanned aerial systems and work on this new technology, this new advancement that's another fun place for me that I enjoy doing so I see myself continuing to do different thing within the FAA.

CD: Alright, do you have any questions for us?


RK: I don't think so.

CD: Alright once we start wrapping this project up I will get in contact with you again, I let you know when we are doing our exhibit and when it is up and running on the website. We really appreciate your time this morning.

RK: Great, thank you so much I am honored to be a part of it.

CD: Alright have a good day.

RK: You too.

CD: Goodbye.