Heather Penney's Email & Phone Number

Aircraft pilot

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About Heather Penney

📖 Summary

Heather "Lucky" Penney is an American hero with an extraordinary story. An accomplished pilot and former fighter pilot in the United States Air Force, Penney made headlines in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks when she was tasked with an unprecedented and harrowing mission. As one of the first female fighter pilots in the Air Force, Penney's bravery and skill have made her a role model for women in the military and aviation industry.

Penney's passion for flying began at a young age. Growing up in a military family, she was surrounded by the sights and sounds of aircraft from an early age. From the first time she took to the skies, she knew that aviation was her true calling. After earning her pilot's license and graduating from Purdue University with a degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering, Penney set her sights on a career in the Air Force.

Penney's time in the Air Force was marked by her dedication and skill as a pilot. She became one of the first female fighter pilots in the history of the Air Force, flying the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Her talent and commitment to her craft earned her the respect and admiration of her colleagues and superiors. She was known for her fearlessness in the air and her ability to remain calm under pressure, qualities that would serve her well in the years to come.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, Penney's life would change forever. As the nation reeled from the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Penney and her fellow pilots at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland received a call to action. With reports of more hijacked planes in the air, they were tasked with a nearly impossible mission - to intercept and take down the hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 before it could reach its intended target.

Armed only with her unarmed F-16 and the knowledge that this mission could very well be a suicide mission, Penney and her wingman, Marc Sasseville, took to the skies. With no time to arm their jets, they knew that they might have to sacrifice their lives in order to save countless others on the ground. It was a moment of unimaginable bravery and selflessness, one that would come to define Penney's legacy. Despite the overwhelming odds, Penney was prepared to give her all to protect her country and its people.

Ultimately, Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon before Penney and Sasseville could reach it, and both pilots returned to base unharmed. The actions of Penney and Sasseville that day are a testament to their courage and dedication as members of the United States military. And while they did not have to carry out the unthinkable that day, their willingness to do so underscores the sacrifices that so many servicemen and women have been called upon to make in defense of their country.

In the years since 9/11, Penney has continued to inspire others with her story and her advocacy for women in the military. She has become a sought-after speaker, sharing her experiences and empowering others to overcome challenges and pursue their dreams. Her story has been featured in numerous documentaries and books, cementing her status as a symbol of courage and resilience.

Today, Penney serves as a senior resident fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, where she continues to contribute her expertise and insights to the field of aviation and national defense. Her impact on the military and aviation industry has been profound, and her legacy as a trailblazer and a hero will continue to inspire future generations of servicemen and women. Heather "Lucky" Penney's remarkable story serves as a reminder of the bravery and sacrifice of those who serve in the armed forces, and her example will continue to resonate with generations to come.

Frequently Asked Questions about Heather Penney

What is Heather Penney doing now?

Today, she's a Senior Fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, and works on defense policy, research and analysis.

Does Heather Penney have children?

She has multiple Air Medals and has been recognized as a superior performer during inspections. As a single mother of two young daughters, Major Penney made the difficult decision to leave the demanding life of a fighter pilot to spend more time with her children.

Is Heather Penny married?

She enjoys flying her WWII Army Air Forces PT-13 Stearman biplane and 1950 Cessna 170A. She is now married with two daughters and rescue dog, Gilmore (named after Roscoe's lion).

What is the story of Heather Penny?

She is best known for her role as a USAF lieutenant who was one of two F-16 pilots who flew their unarmed planes in an attempt to ram and down United Airlines Flight 93 before it reached Washington, D.C., during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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