From Army Veteran to Aviation Visionary: How Colene Copeland-Kruszynski is Redefining the Flying Industry for Women

After a distinguished career as a geospatial engineer in the U.S. Army, Colene Copeland-Kruszynski is on a mission to make flying accessible to all, especially women. 

Through her online platform, AeroCopz, she inspires a new generation of pilots and aerospace enthusiasts, shattering long-standing barriers that have hindered women’s participation in this male-dominated field.

From Military Service to Aviation Pioneer

Copeland-Kruszynski’s journey in aviation began during her time in the U.S. Army, where she served as a geospatial engineer. Her military background provided her with a good foundation in geospatial technologies and navigation systems, skills that are essential in aviation. “The military taught me discipline, precision, and the importance of technology in flight operations,” she reflects.

During her years in the Army, Copeland-Kruszynski witnessed firsthand the capabilities of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in enhancing military operations. This experience allowed her to appreciate the critical importance of precise data in aviation and space exploration. Recognizing the growing integration of GIS and spatial analysis in improving aviation operations’ efficiency and safety, she foresees a future where flying is a fundamental skill accessible to all.

“I aim to champion aircraft flying and unmanned systems as the primary modes of communication and transportation in the future,” she adds. 

The Work Post-Military

Upon transitioning to civilian life, Copeland-Kruszynski identified a gap in the aviation industry: the underrepresentation of women. She shares, “I am fortunate to have the opportunity to explore and overcome the aviation and military life. But I know there are many women that though they want, they can’t because of different barriers.”

Determined to address this disparity, she launched AeroCopz, a YouTube channel dedicated to educating viewers on safe flight procedures, aircraft piloting, and the future of unmanned systems. Scheduled to debut in Summer 2024, Copeland-Kruszynski envisions AeroCopz to demystify flying and make it more approachable for everyone, especially women.

AeroCopz: A Modern Platform for Aviation Education

Copeland-Kruszynski acknowledges that though organizations like Women in Aviation International (WAI) and the International Society of Women Airline Pilots (ISWAP) have made strides in promoting gender diversity, she believes more needs to be done to address the systemic barriers that hinder women’s participation in aviation today.

The pilot sees AeroCopz as this ‘more’ needed to bridge the gap between women and flying.  AeroCopz is an online educational platform designed to democratize aviation knowledge. For Copeland-Kruszynski, AeroCopz is more than just a YouTube channel; it is a comprehensive educational platform designed to inspire and inform. 

Copeland-Kruszynski applies all she learned in her professional career in a series of instructional videos and interactive simulation programs. These cover various topics, from basic flight training and navigation systems in avionics problems to advanced GIS. These aim to make complex foundational aviation topics easier to understand and learn.

By offering free educational content online, she removes one of the barriers to entry in the field: cost. Copeland-Kruszynski adds, “With this accessible and free platform, I want to inspire as many people as possible to become pilots and to advance the future in aviation and space engineering.” 

AeroCopz is also tailored to address women’s specific challenges in aviation. Through her platform, Copeland-Kruszynski offers mentorship and practical advice, helping aspiring female pilots take on flight training and career development.

The Broader Impact on the Aviation Industry

The impact of Copeland-Kruszynski’s work resonates throughout the aviation industry. Though the pilot admits the work is extensive, she takes comfort in knowing her platform’s effect on the industry and many women dreaming of becoming pilots.  

According to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots, women constitute only about 5 to 6 percent of the total pilot population worldwide. By increasing the visibility and accessibility of aviation education, AeroCopz is vital in addressing this gender imbalance.

The industry is evolving, with technological advancements and diversity initiatives building a more inclusive future. Copeland-Kruszynski’s efforts align perfectly with these broader movements, making her a critical player in the push toward a more diverse and technologically advanced aviation sector.