November 29, 2023


Moving Forward

Why pilot-entrepreneur Abingdon Mullin is one to watch | Interview

Business pilot and entrepreneur Abingdon Mullin has a aim: to acquire a Grumman Albatross seaplane and cruise the world, camping out in the cabin with her husband and Sinatra, her cat.

“We want to possess an Albatross and flip it in to ‘van life’,” states Mullin, 39, of Las Vegas. “It’s like an RV with wings. We [could] go wherever.”

In truth, it was that ability to go anywhere, to see the environment, that led Mullin to turn out to be a skilled pilot in the initial area – in spite of the industry currently being dominated by gentlemen.

Abingdon Mullin, Women in Aviation

She has given that labored at Cirrus Plane, flown turboprops during the Caribbean, piloted big jets for Spirit Airlines and, amid it all, introduced The Abingdon Co., a corporation specialising in offering watches built for feminine pilots.

“Have I been sexualised? Of course. Have I been referred to as each individual title in the e book? Yes,” Mullin suggests.

Her guidance: “Be a duck. Water off a duck’s back again. If you allow it soak in, it’s likely to get you soaked.”

Profession LUNCH

The daughter of an English father and Mexican mom, Mullin grew up dwelling in the British isles metropolis of Leeds and in Burbank, California. She at first had minimal curiosity in aviation, but that altered in the late 1990s when, at age 14, she had a possibility assembly with two pilots. That working day, her higher faculty in Burbank held just one of its month to month “career lunches” – possibilities for learners to find out about job solutions.

Mullin attended for the cost-free lunch.

“I didn’t even know what the topic was. I was the only lady,” she suggests. “In walked two pilots from the community flight college.”

They defined that expert pilots will need not initial be armed forces pilots, and that quite a few positions exist other than individuals doing the job at airlines.

“I was little bit by the bug,” Mullin says, adding that an introduction flight lesson at age 16 “solidified [that] this is what I wanted to do”.

Continue to, at the guidance of her mom and dad, Mullin delayed an aviation career to go to the College of California San Diego, where by she gained a degree in psychology. She afterwards accomplished a stint as a company volunteer in Cameroon with US agency Peace Corps.

But aviation stored tugging at her sleeve. “I just realized I wanted to fly,” she suggests.

Abingdon Mullin, Women in Aviation

Mullin designed it come about. She landed her personal pilot license in 2006 at the age of 22 – completing the programme in 34 days with just 43h of flight time – and began functioning toward her industrial licence.

At about the very same time, she commenced kicking all over the plan of launching a organization promoting watches made for woman aviators. The idea arrived amid dinner with other female pilots they were talking about possessing hassle discovering aviation watches built for ladies.

It was on 3 November 2007 that her profession came jointly. On that single working day, she acquired her business pilot license, landed a pilot position at Cirrus Plane and started out view corporation Abingdon.

The Cirrus work, in Santa Monica, involved flying solitary-engined piston SR20s and SR22s on demonstration flights for shoppers, and delivering aircraft to field functions like the Sunshine ’n Enjoyable Aerospace Expo in Florida and the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture exhibit in Oshkosh.

Mullin then took a career selling plane and traveling for kit-aircraft maker Lancair Worldwide, which was then primarily based in Redmond, Oregon.

She entered the airline environment in 2015, taking a occupation with Seaborne Airlines traveling Saab 340B turboprops from San Juan to destinations like Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, St Croix, St Kitts and Nevis, St Martin, St Thomas and Tortola.

Right after logging 500h of turbine-plane time, Mullin signed on with Spirit, flying Airbus A320-family members jets out of Las Vegas. At the exact time, she was equipped to concentration on making her Abingdon enjoy small business, thanks to provisions in Spirit’s pilot contract enabling pilots to fly practically as little, or as significantly, as they like.

The Abingdon small business continued growing and past year Mullin left Spirit.

“I was just heading to create a bunch of watches for my girlfriends and I. Who understood it was heading to just take off like hearth,” she claims.

Energetic Shoppers

Abingdon’s goal buyers contain “adventurous women” – people who get pleasure from activities like flying, scuba diving, foundation jumping, taking pictures and race vehicle driving, the corporation states. The watches are assembled in Las Vegas.

They are marketed via Abingdon’s web site and at aviation and pilot merchants, retailer Macy’s, the US military’s Exchange outlets and The Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Area Museum shop in close proximity to Washington DC. The corporation has logged gross sales since it inception nearing $3 million, Mullin claims.

Abingdon Mullin, Women in Aviation

She is now organizing for what arrives subsequent, which includes, quite possibly, producing great on her aim to get an Albatross seaplane with her partner, a Frontier Airlines’ pilot.

Grumman created the kind, run by Wright R-1820 radial engines, as an amphibious utility plane for the US Navy, producing it through 1961. Not lots of keep on being for sale, but Mullin has her eye on two.

The notion goes anything like this: change the aircraft’s cabin into a home absent from dwelling, equipping it with photo voltaic-energy and water-desalination systems for self-sufficiency in the remotest locations. Then, fly off to where adventure phone calls.

“People reside on sailboats for years – we could be performing the exact same thing in an all-terrain plane,” Mullin says.

And, of system, Sinatra the cat will occur along.

“He’ll be our small plane kitten,” Mullin says.