Meet a member: After studying religions, pilot lands as freethinker

Name: Amy Hall.

Where I live: Hiding out in the woods of Bible Belt, Arkansas.

Where and when I was born: 1967 in Lorain, Ohio.

Family: My mom, stepdad and one brother live near me. I have another brother in Ohio. My real father died of brain cancer when I was 9. None of us is religious anymore.

Education: Kent State University in Ohio, where I earned a bachelor of science degree and acquired my first series of pilot licenses.    

Occupation: Airline pilot. Pilots who carry cargo only are affectionately called “freight dogs.” Boxes don’t complain about the ride or the cabin temperature. I am frequently overseas. Some military contracts have taken me to interesting and not-so-interesting places. A few years ago, I flew an engine for NASA’s 747 Sophia to Christchurch, New Zealand.   

Military service: When I first started college, I joined ROTC, hoping to win a scholarship and a flying commission. Neither worked out, luckily, as campus cadet life was not my cup of tea. 

How I got where I am today: Through Kent State’s flight program I earned my Private, Commercial, and then Instructor ratings, and so was able to mentor other beginning flight students.

After college, I taught at a private flight school near my hometown before I landed my first airline job, flying small 20-seat aircraft around New Mexico and Colorado. I moved up to larger and larger aircraft and now find myself in command of a Boeing 747 freighter and mentoring new-hire pilots and those looking to advance.

Where I’m headed: I have a small developing farm in Arkansas that is part of my retirement plan. I put a little bit at a time into the infrastructure whenever I am home. 

Person in history I admire and why: Mary Roach. Her books make me laugh because you cannot believe the lengths that woman will go to in the name of science.

A quotation I like: “If only God would give some clear sign! Like making a deposit in my name at a Swiss Bank.” — Woody Allen.

These are a few of my favorite things: Art museums, meadows of wildflowers, lofty views and my emus.

These are not: Gaslighters, naysayers, robo-calls.

My doubts about religion started: When I started scrutinizing the lyrics in the hymnals. My mom took us to the Church of Christ, one grandmother to the Methodist Church, the other grandmother to the Evangelical and Reformed Church. Well, I decided that I was perfectly capable of reading that bible for myself. Not so easy, of course. So, I perused bookshops looking for books on how to interpret what I was reading. I found books on all kinds of religions and religious history. However, it took my grandfather’s death to suddenly realize I’d studied my way out of any belief system.

Before I die: Oh, I still have a list of things. Most involve travel, with The Great Wall, Petra, Machu Picchu and Galápagos Islands as just some of the destinations.

Amy Hall sits in the cockpit of a Boeing 747.