captivated as a child by the stories of two people. The first was her father, a C-130
flight engineer with a 23-year career, four tours in Viet Nam, and more than 550 combat
footnote) The second was a "flying doctor" who came to the U.S. from East Africa
to upgrade her aircraft home, and told stories of her adventures. Nikki picked up the
dream of flying from both. As the result of her admiration for her father, and the
inspiration she received from this amazing woman pilot, Nikki earned her pilot's license
in Abilene, Texas, in 1978.
in the world of music is no less remarkable. She moved from Abilene to Nashville, where
she worked with various country artists. For the past 14 years she has been employed by
Waylon Jennings and is currently President of his company. She has mixed flying with her
music career, often flying to meet Waylon in the midst of his busy concert schedule.
Nikki has flown back and forth to Russia, researching and interviewing the
elite regiments of the Russian Women Pilots who flew combat missions in
WWII. She is currently writing a screenplay based on their incredible
stories. Still, it was by chance meeting with fellow pilot Rhonda Miles
that set the stage for the recreation of the Flight of the Rodina..
summer of 1996," she says, "I saw a girl come out of a hangar carrying an iron
and a long needle who had just been patching her J3 Cub. I knew she was the real deal...
her name was Rhonda Miles. It turned out she was exactly the instructor that I needed to
make the transition as a pilot in my newly purchased Maule M-5.
Since that time, Nikki and Rhonda completed a flight that was destined to
happen. "When you watch something, as this, unfold against every odd
imaginable, become greater than you dreamed and you become part of
many...each responsible for an essential piece of the picture unknown
until needed...you realize the flight was going to happen and it was a
matter of putting your hands on the yoke and following through...as with
used to tell me stories as a child, stories about the Congo, Greenland and many
other far away places. One night, he stopped in the middle of a story and said,
'There are stories you walk into BUT then, there are those that you fly into'...
That is when I knew I would fly someday. Though, my father passed away one year
before the flight, I crossed his wake as Rhonda and I flew our first stretch
over the North Atlantic to Greenland. I, then, learned you may miss those that
you love but you never loose them."