By Claire Kowalick
Times Record News, Wichita Falls, Texas.
WICHITA FALLS, Texas
While learning the family business, Sheppard Air Force Base instructor Major Lindsey Giggy is lucky enough to have her mother and father take her under their wings. The wings of a supersonic jet, that is.
Giggy comes from a long line of pilots and members of the military.
Her grandfather on mother’s side, mother Connie Engel and father Richard Engel were all Air Force pilots.
She has three cousins in the Air Force, an uncle in the Army and two sisters who have their pilot’s licenses. Her younger sister also married a pilot.
Giggy’s husband, Patrick, was also an Air Force pilot, and currently flies for the Air National Guard. His father was also a pilot, and his brother currently flies the Eagle in New Orleans.
Giggy’s father Richard Engel flew an A-1 during the Vietnam War, was a test pilot and retired as a two-star general at Fort McNair in Washington D.C., where he was the commandant of the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
Her mother Connie Engel was an active duty nurse who became a pilot, after some convincing from her then soon-to-be husband.
Connie Engel borrowed Richard Engel’s G-suit when she went on a familiarization ride.
They hit it off and got married. Then, when pilot training opened up for women, Richard Engel convinced Connie Engel to give it a shot.
She graduated flight training on Sept. 2, 1977 at Williams AFB in Arizona as one of the first 10 women allowed into the program.
Capt. Connie Engel was the class leader and is often credited as the first woman to fly solo for the Air Force.
Back then for the first female pilots, there wasn’t a protocol for flying while pregnant.
Now, in heavier aircraft, a woman can fly during her second trimester, but is grounded for her first and third trimesters.