Kathy Cosand

NASA Story

Retired Col. Kathy Cosand holds two paintings March, 24, 2017 at her home in Deerfield Beach, Florida. The paintings are reprints of orignal artworks hanging at the Pentagon, featuring Cosand and nine other females who were the first women to graduate from the Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training Program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jamal D. Sutter)

At age seven, Kathy Cosand witnessed Astronaut John Glenn launch into space, and from that point she knew she wanted to be a pilot.  In 1976, the Air Force announced it would open pilot training to women, starting with 20 participants. She was selected to fill the sole Reservist slot from that initial group. The following year, Cosand and nine other female officers became the first group of women to graduate from the Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training Program. Cosand went on to accomplish many achievements in her 30-year Air Force Reserve career before retiring as a colonel. She was the Air Force’s first female aviator qualified in the C-141 and the first female to earn the Air Medal after a mission to Zaire in 1978. Despite her milestones, Cosand said her proudest triumph is that fact that her family is an aviation family. Her husband, Bob, retired as a colonel after 23 years as an active-duty Air Force pilot. Her children, Meaghan and Rob, are currently captains in the Air Force Reserve, flying Boeing 767s on the civilian side. Today, Cosand flies 767s as a first officer with American Airlines out of Miami International Airport, Florida.