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Captain Kiki Culler reflects on being one of the first female pilots at Hawaiian Airlines in 1984

Hawaiian Airlines Capt. Kendall "Kiki" Culler
Courtesy Hawaiian Airlines
Hawaiian Airlines Capt. Kendall "Kiki" Culler

One of the first female pilots at Hawaiian Airlines retired in July after 38 years with the company. Captain Kendall “Kiki” Culler grew up in Kailua and first became a pilot in 1977. She started her own local charter company in 1980 before joining Hawaiian Airlines in 1984.

Culler says her passion for flying started at a young age. Her father was a pilot for the University of Hawaiʻi physics department and her family spent most weekends commuting between islands with him.

In her 40-plus years flying planes, she’s seen many changes and has plenty of stories. She says Hawaiian now has one of the highest female pilot rates in the industry at about 9%. Speaking to The Conversation, Culler reflected on her career and offered advice to young women dreaming of becoming a pilot.
Editor's note: Hawaiian Airlines is an underwriter of Hawaiʻi Public Radio.

This interview aired on The Conversation on July 29, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Russell Subiono is the executive producer of The Conversation and host of HPR's This Is Our Hawaiʻi podcast. Born in Honolulu and raised on Hawaiʻi Island, he’s spent the last decade working in local film, television and radio. Contact him at talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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