A big part of our mission at Pearl Harbor Warbirds is offering vintage warbird tours that keep the history of WWII alive, and educating our guests about the U.S.’s entry into the war. We also like to share content that resonates with aviation fanatics, history buffs, fellow pilots and more — and we’d like to shed some light on women in aviation, a field generally dominated by male pilots.
Meet Marissa Colclasure, a.k.a. #TheFlyingMom. Her story is bold, inspiring and empowering — and we hope you’ll enjoy hearing her adventures as a female pilot and as a single mother of three. (And, wait till you see her Instagram feed at @barefoot_flying_mom. We are awestruck at her balance of passion and parenthood!)
Women in Aviation: Marissa Colclasure
What’s your current role?
I am currently a First Officer for Air Wisconsin and about to begin my ground school training for the CRJ-200.
What inspired you to pursue a career in aviation?
Can one really ignore the song of their heart? I fell in love with aviation as a small child and am still enamored by it in every way to this day. My father was a pilot, and I remember vividly going up with him on sunset flights. One of my favorite memories was seeing Christmas lights from the air around the holidays with him.
Have you faced any challenges being a female in this industry?
I’ve faced many challenges in aviation, but more so from people outside of aviation. I have found very large support systems for being a female in aviation inside of aviation. I am on the Board for my local Women in Aviation Bluegrass Chapter, and also a member of our local Ninety-Nines. I’ve received more challenges and negative comments from bystanders than I have from family and friends.
What’s your favorite aircraft to fly?
Right now it’s a little 7eca Citabria affectionately named Lucy. She’s taken me on some magical adventures with my children.
What’s on your bucket list, flying-wise?
The dream is to take a year and fly around the world with my children in an Albatross. I was lucky to have crewed on a G-111 sponsored by Billabong and flew SIC around the Hawaiian Islands. Some of the most romantic memories I have are flying in the trough of a wave at sunset on the North Shore. For that moment, the world and time were suspended and I was Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
Do you fly with your three children? If so, what are the joys and possible challenges of sharing this experience with them?
I do fly with all three of them. They not only log each flight with me flying, but also take their logbooks on flights they take as passengers on commercial airline flights. I cannot wait to fly them once I am on the line with Air Wisconsin. It should be right around Christmas time! For a long time, I stopped flying because I listened to outside influences that said women should really be at home with their children. I long since left those unhealthy relationships and have found such a strong and healthy family life with my children because I DO fly.
What’s the hardest part and the most rewarding part of flying?
The hardest part is missing my kids, but Lord almighty is it amazing to see them again or share flight with them.
What advice would you have for someone considering pursuing aviation?
If someone tells you that you can’t do it, or shouldn’t do it, what they are really saying is they are afraid to do it. Healthy people will support other healthy people. If someone tells you no and isn’t lifting you up, walk away because I can assure you that there is a huge family in flying. I have never felt more loved and more beautiful than when I fly or even surround myself with those that do.
Describe what flying means to you, and what it feels like to pilot an aircraft — perhaps for someone who has never been in the cockpit.
Marissa sums it up beautifully in this post.
Is there anything else you’d like to add about your experiences?
I blog for YesLousiville.com and most of my stories are aviation-infused. It’s how I see my life and how I love — through the lenses of flight.
We hope you enjoyed learning about Marissa’s experiences in our Women in Aviation Q&A. Book your Pearl Harbor Warbirds ride today!
Pearl Harbor Warbirds offers the best Hawai‘i flight adventure tours available. Immerse yourself in the details of the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor. Soar above the important sites that played a part in the Day of Infamy. Relive history as you retrace the steps of the Army and Navy airmen in the days following the bombing. Furthermore, you can fly on some of the same routes the Japanese attackers used into the airfields at Wheeler, Kāne‘ohe and Bellows. Hawaii offers many air tours, but only one warbird airplane flight. Located in Honolulu, Pearl Harbor Warbirds provides a personal historical experience.
Experience an immersive two-hour adventure that allows you to relive history as a Naval Aviator and also fly Pearl Harbor like it was on December 10th, 1941. Learn more about the Admiral’s Warbird Adventure.