Reflections of motherhood from the flight deck: Piedmont’s first female cadet
As a first-time mother and pilot for Piedmont Airlines, First Officer Kimberley Gott was hesitant about leaving her infant son for several days at a time while she flew the skies. “I definitely felt a mother’s guilt for leaving him to go on trips,” said Kimberley. “But then I thought about how my career would positively affect his future and the opportunities that are in front of me far outweigh that negative feeling. I look forward to showing my son the world and sharing my love of flying with him.”
Growing up in Oklahoma and Delaware, Kimberley would tag along with her father, a private pilot, to the airport while he worked on his airplane. “I loved flying and used to bum rides from other pilots to fly at the airport,” Kimberley recalls. While deplaning in Orlando, Florida for a family vacation, Kimberley remembers seeing the pilots standing at the flight deck door and being in awe of them for their ability to fly an airplane.
In her youth, she rode horses competitively and when it became time to choose a career, she had to choose between professionally riding horses or becoming a pilot. “Initially, I made the decision to stay with the horses because it was right after 9/11,” said Kimberley. “I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to find work as a pilot.”
At age 26, Kimberley became bored with her desk job and decided to pursue a career as a pilot. “By becoming a pilot, I could have the best of both worlds,” said Kimberley. “I could pay for my horses, travel the world and live a comfortable life.” She attended ATP Flight Schools in Trenton, New Jersey and Jacksonville, Florida. After obtaining her private and commercial licenses, Kimberley flight instructed at three ATP school locations. She became the first female Piedmont cadet at 500 hours of flight time.
“I chose Piedmont because of the culture,” said Kimberley. “Piedmont had a base in Philadelphia which was convenient to where I lived and Piedmont pilots have a direct flow to American.” Kimberley joined Piedmont as a First Officer in February 2019.
Kimberley acknowledges that learning to adapt and establishing a solid routine made the days away from her husband and son a lot easier. Before she leaves for a trip, she prepares by prepping meals for her family and is thankful for an active and involved husband who can be flexible in his farming job when needed.
Kimberley says her son continues to grow and learn while she is away and is not missing out. “He attends daycare where he is learning baby sign language and other things I can’t teach him at home,” she says. “I miss my son when I’m working but he is in good hands.”
When she isn’t flying, Kim volunteers her time with the Pilot recruiting team at recruiting events and is an active volunteer with her local 4-H Club where she teaches children to show animals. She shows horses and does herding events with her dogs.
“Being a parent in any career is challenging,” said Kimberley. “Being a pilot and having a routine and strong partner, makes having a family in this career obtainable.”
Thank you for all you do for Piedmont, Kimberley and Happy Mother’s Day!