Breaking Barriers: First Female Chief Pilot at DFW Airport

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DFW AIRPORT -- Who runs the world? Girls! Captain Kathi Durst is proving Beyonce knows what she's talking about. American Airlines has appointed Durst as its first female chief pilot at DFW airport.

"I love being away from the ground, " Durst said.  "I feel like a bird. I just enjoy the flying. I like the freedom."

After graduating high school, Durst was accepted at the U.S. Air Force Academy and wanted to pursue a medical career, but then female pilot training became available.

Her career as a doctor was grounded and she took off in the family business. Her father was an Air Force fighter pilot.

"Flew that T-38 fighter type super sonic aircraft so that was really a lot of fun," Durst explains.

She graduated in 1981 in the second class that admitted women.  She left the Air Force and joined American Airlines in 1988.

"The airlines were all hiring.  I did apply to four. I won't name the other three because American was my first choice. It has always been a very diversity minded and inclusive airline."

Durst started moving up the ranks becoming the first female pilot in a fleet management leadership role.

This year, she blazed another trail for women -- Becoming the first female Chief Pilot at the DFW Airport.  You starting to see a pattern here?

"I feel a sense of responsibility for that but it isn't something I dwell on for that," Durst explains.  "I just try to do a good job. I buckle down. I try to do the task at hand. I try to help."

Even with that big title, Durst still gets to fly and says anyone can make their dreams come true.  Hey, no glass ceiling here.

"Follow your dream. If it's a big dream it`s going to take a lot of work. There will be nay sayers and you'll have discouraging days don't give up. Pay it forward. Just keep your eye on the game."