Highway to the Sky

the new book from

Lola Reid Allin

Available September 17, 2024

Pre-Order in Canada

Pre-Order in USA

With females making up just 5% of the world’s pilots, this memoir crosses genres to combine aviation history, the author’s journey from unwanted child to successful pilot, and the feminist experience, and will appeal to multiple aviation communities.

“Don’t be silly! Girls can’t fly,” seven-year-old Lola’s father admonishes her as they fly across Canada on a commercial flight in 1962. She is crushed—but decides he must be right. She’s only ever seen male pilots, after all.

Highway to the Sky begins during the empty zone of women in aviation, a three-decade drought following WWII when men reclaimed the jobs that had been performed by women during the war and forced women back to diapers and dishes, where they “belonged.”

Despite Lola’s childhood desire to avoid the straitjacket of traditional female roles and become a pilot, her desperate need for unconditional affection after a lonesome childhood sways her determination. At age twenty, she leaps into marriage and motherhood. Four years, one toxic relationship, and one private pilot license later, she leaves her husband, even though she knows she’ll be censured by friends, family, and 1970s society at large.

Lola’s head-on battle with tradition continues as the lone female pilot in her advanced flight training program and on the job as a flight instructor, bush pilot, charter pilot, and commuter airline pilot between 1979 and 1993. Flying is challenging at times, yes—but her true obstacles are the hostility, sabotage, and discrimination she faces in her industry. She perseveres, however. Ultimately, flying is what gives her the courage to regain control of her life—and helps her find personal happiness.

Advance praise for

Highway to the Sky: An Aviator’s Journey

“Lola Reid Allin’s memoir, Highway to the Sky, brings us to the heart of wanting something society says you can’t have. In an era when women could be teachers or secretaries, we understand young Lola’s determination and struggles as she navigates a misogynistic world of aviation and relationships. With elegant, descriptive language, Lola writes of her passions, triumphs, and disappointments as they propel her forward. Highway to the Sky is an enlightening read full of captivating imagery and adventure that gives hope to all to keep fighting for their dreams.”
-Erin Spaeth, Alaska Airlines Captain B-737, Retired

“Lola Reid Allin has woven together a brilliant memoir that profiles her life as a young aviator during a time when being a female pilot was not a common career choice. It is a great read for someone looking for inspiration and a lesson in the importance of believing in yourself and not letting life’s arrows or downturns influence your drive.”
Cheryl Stinson Rodo, author of Blind Trust: Winner, Sinner

Highway to the Sky is a motivational primer for anyone growing up and looking ahead to what might be there for them. Her vivid and colorful descriptions of her early flight training and the Canadian landscape are very picturesque. . . She inspires the reader to understand the sky is the limit and to stay true to your own dreams and ideals—good advice for any endeavor.”
Becky Condon, US Navy/Delta Air Lines 757/767ER Captain Ret’d.