Not having grown up in an aviation family, Davis never imagined she would take the career path that led her to where she is today. For her full-time job, Davis currently serves as a U.S. Air Force chaplain, and previously held ranks as a staff sergeant and aircraft electrician. In her spare time, Davis is pursuing her private pilot certificate with the goal of earning her instrument rating and hopes to one day fly a Cirrus SR22.
Davis created Women Rock Wings not only to inspire and bring women in aviation together but also to support Women Rock Wings members with the costs associated with flying, which Davis feels is one of the biggest barriers to entry within the industry.
In between her busy schedule of military and civilian commitments, AOPA reached out to Davis to find out what led to the creation of Women Rock Wings, what her overall mission is for the growing group, and what she hopes to accomplish in the future.
Why did you originally get involved in aviation?
Originally it was my enlisted career in the [U.S.] Air Force that led me to aviation. All enlisted entrants into the Air Force take the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery). I tested well in the mechanical portion of the exam. Trust me, this was not expected at all. Due to my test scores, the options for a career field pool were larger. Aircraft Electrical and Environmental Systems Specialist popped out from all of the other jobs. My recruiter … really encouraged me to consider the field. He did mention not too many women, especially Black women were in that career field. I ended up saying to myself, “If I was going into the Air Force, then I’m going to go for it all.” So, I went for it. And I will always be glad I did.
What led you to continuing your aviation career in the military?
I transitioned from aviation within my military career almost six years ago. I also moved from being enlisted to earning the privilege of being an officer. Currently, I proudly serve as a chaplain. It’s one of the greatest privileges. My role as a chaplain is what reconnected me to aviation. While on duty in summer 2018, I came across something you don’t see often in the Air Force or military overall— currently serving Black pilots. I had to introduce myself. They were a part of a summer program, ACE (Aviation Character Education). The program was sharing the gift of flight for young teens from around the United States. It was so beautiful to see many of them go from none or minimal flight hours to their solos. It was through this interaction I would meet my current mentor Major Charlton. He learned about my background as an aircraft electrician and asked me the question that would begin the journey I’m on now: “Have you ever thought about flying?”
What is your ultimate goal within the aviation industry?
My personal ultimate goal is still developing. I am still deciding whether I want to fly corporate or cargo. As time progresses and the more I fly, I will know where I want to be. I do know for sure, I want to be a part of the aviation industry looking more and more like the people it serves.
What made you create Women Rock Wings, and how did you come up with the name?
I began flight training January 2020 at Delaware State University, which is a historically black university… When school like everywhere else was forced to close because of the pandemic, we were all spread to our homes and in-person interaction ceased. I missed flying. I missed study hall. I missed my girls. We stayed in communication via text and also because some of us completed our ground course together in virtual class. Within our texts we’d encourage one another. I’ve always been a positive person, and I try my best to spread that no matter the atmosphere I’m a part of. In our conversation, I’d say things like, “You rock.” Or to myself, “These women rock!” I’m not sure the exact moment where the word Wings clicked, but it did. I decided to print some shirts for those women who’d been so encouraging to me in hopes of encouraging them as well. Ultimately, that’s what led to the beginning.
What is the mission of Women Rock Wings, and how do you go about fulfilling that mission?
The mission of Women Rock Wings has become larger than I ever knew it would be. I simply wanted a place for women I appreciated to study, support each other, and connect, and now it’s morphed into doing that on a larger scale. We empower, support, promote, and connect women in aviation with each other and to needed resources. Our Instagram page has been a source of it all… When anyone touches the Women Rock Wings page, we want them to see themselves, a safe place, and a resource.
What do you feel Women Rock Wings has accomplished so far?
So far, we’ve definitely connected aviatrixes to resources and one another. We are also making sure women in aviation are heard and seen. Lastly, but to me most importantly, I feel we’ve created a safe space for women to lift their voices. And that is priceless.
What does the future look like for Women Rock Wings?
The future is limitless. We are in our infancy state, and I respect that immensely. We want to continue to foster and build a strong community among women in aviation and the aviation and aerospace industry at large. We also want to build a durable study community. We know how important it is to have the variety of support when going through any rating. We want to be a voice of change and create a global mindset that women rock whatever space they find themselves in. We are excited about all the future holds, and we will not limit ourselves to any one possibility. But no matter what happens, we will be a part of expanding the global footprint of women in aviation.