The Elk River Airport in Banner Elk showed off a 1969 Cessna Skylane airplane, owned by a local female pilot, at a packed house for the launch of her new book last week.

Kimberley Jochl, an Appalachian State University graduate and current vice president at Sugar Mountain Resort, hosted a party on July 21 to promote her book, “The Aviatrix.”

The book is a narrative nonfiction following Jochl’s journey of overcoming her fear of flying by becoming a female pilot, which is typically a male-dominant profession. In 2013, according to Women in Aviation International, in comparison to men, women only made up 6.61 percent of pilots.

Other than Jochl, the party had guest speakers including Jochl’s husband, Gunther, as well as her content editor, Betsy Thorpe.

“As soon as she came to me with the idea that she wanted to learn how to fly, I was all in. She took to flying really well. She’s very disciplined, and that’s what flying is all about,” Gunther said.

Jochl said she couldn’t have written the book without the overwhelming support of her friends and family, as well as the dedicated people who helped her become a published author.

“I never intended to write a book, and of course, I never dreamed of or desired to fly an airplane,” Jochl said. “‘The Aviatrix’ explains why I’m a pilot and why I’m an author. I couldn’t have written the book without the help of my editors, Betsy and Maya. I wasn’t a writer or an author, but they made me feel like I was.”

Jochl said one of the great things about writing a narrative nonfiction is that her characters are real. Many of these people were in attendance at the launch party; most importantly her husband.

“I couldn’t have become a pilot without the support of my husband,” Jochl added. “Most importantly, he brought the academics of learning how to fly to me. He’s experienced as a mechanic on airplanes. Becoming a pilot is hard and there’s a lot of book work and understanding of concepts, including a lot of math.”

“The Aviatrix” was originally Jochl’s life memoir as well as her journey of becoming a pilot. However, her editors thought it would be best to split the book into two different parts.

“I convinced her she had written two books, so we split it up,” Thorpe said. “The first book is ‘The Aviatrix’ and the next is her memoir. I’m so proud of Kim getting this book published. She’s always positive, always cheerful and funny, and her books are a delight to read.”

Jochl’s memoir is set to release in a couple of months.

You can find “The Aviatrix” online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Aircraft Spruce, Pilot Shop and Aero Performance. The book is also available in regional locations including Fred’s General Mercantile, Elizabethton Municipal Airport, Appalachian State University Bookstore and Sugar Mountain Sports.

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