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Fly girl, fly

By Staff | Mar 30, 2014

Imagine a daily routine which consisted of sunrises and sunsets all from a birdseye view.

Instead of a corner office or a good view from her window, Blue Earth Area graduate, Ashley Kriewall has something even better.

“I am a captain for a commercial airline,” Kriewall says.

And it’s not just a job to her flying has been her long-time passion. In fact, she was just 15 years old when she experienced her first flight.

“I remember taking a ride with my grandparents’ neighbors in Arizona,”?she says.

So, after that she began taking flying lessons at the airport in Mankato.

“My family always joked because I actually learned to fly before I could drive,”?Kriewall jokes.

Kriewall continued her hobby of flying until she graduated from BEA in 2002.

“Then I attended Iowa Lakes college for awhile,” she explains.

In order to become a commercial pilot one must acquire a certain amount of flight hours as well as classroom hours.

“So, the amount of time it takes to become a pilot really depends on how quickly you can accumulate your hours,” Kriewall says.

Once she fulfilled the hour requirements to get her licenses, she began her career as a pilot flying for a regional airport.

And just a couple of weeks ago, she was upgraded to captain at her current airline.

“I take flights all over America as well as the Caribbean and Central and South America,”?Kriewall says.

According to the BEA?grad, a typical trip is four days and in one day she could take anywhere from one to five flights.

“My first flight of the day is usually a red eye which can start anywhere from 11 p.m. or later,” Kriewall says.

She will take the flight to the first city and around 6 a.m. will arrive at a hotel.

According to Kriewall she has to plan her sleep patterns around the various flights.

“A nice long nap before work makes the various hours of flying easier along with a good cup of coffee,” she says.

Then she moves on to the next flight.

“The flights that last around three hours are my favorite,”?Kriewall adds. “Trips which are more than that can become a little too long.”

Kriewall loves her job, not only because she gets to fly, but because every day is different.

“Whether you’re dealing with different weather conditions, or who you’re working with that day, or if there’s a sick passenger my work days are never the same,”?she says.

And in her time as a pilot, she is grateful nothing too exciting has happened.

Although, she is prepared if that is ever the case.

“Every six months we are required to go to simulators to practice how to handle situations that you would never want to happen in real life,” she says.

The simulators are full-motion, hydraulic systems, which mimic emergency situations one might encounter as a pilot. Some of those situations would include what to do in case of an engine failure or system failure.

And while every day is different for Kriewall, there is one thing that she will never forget.

“My favorite part about flying is the things I get to see,”?she says. “I have seen some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets the kind that pictures just don’t do justice to.”

Kriewall adds she hasn’t been the only BEA graduate to go on to utilize her love of flight. According to Kriewall, other’s who also have flying licenses from the area include; Chris Matthews, Luke Steier, Mitch Alm and Jeremy Schroeder.

So, although some may have to make the sacrifice of early morning shifts or interrupted sleep schedules it is more than worth it for those, such as Kriewall, with a passion for flight.