Barbara Brotman Kaylor, CEO of Rooftop Communications, stays busy running her successful advertising, public relations and marketing company. The Owings Mills-based business leader strives to achieve a commendable work-life balance. Her hobbies include staying connected with family, working out every morning and flying.

“I’m a commercial pilot and flight instructor,” Brotman Kaylor said. “I started flying when I was 14.”

Now in her sixties, Brotman Kaylor became a licensed pilot at just 17 years old. She mentioned that it is the youngest age that an individual can become a licensed pilot.

Upon reflection about her journeys, the pilot who likes to stay young, fit and healthy recalled flying to places such as California, Florida, Nantucket, Massachusetts, Mexico and even the Bahamas. She even reminisced in the past by flipping through old log books. Although they are important to have for insurance purposes, because it serves as proof of flights and  certifications, they also can have sentimental value. Brotman Kaylor compared scanning them visually with looking through old photo albums, although log books contain writing.

Barbara Brotman Kaylor, CEO and pilot balances family, work obligations and lifelong hobbies.
Photo credit: Piper Tudder

“I’ve taken a plane pretty much everywhere,”  Brotman Kaylor said. “I used to fly out of BWI. Now, I fly out of Martin State Airport.”

 Brotman Kaylor’s father was a dentist who introduced her to her flying hobby. She followed in his footsteps of becoming a pilot and a flight instructor.

 “I think he was looking for something for us to do together to create a bond between father and daughter and we flew together as a family weekly. He thought it would be fun for me to learn how to fly and I loved it,” Brotman Kaylor said.

The pilot further remarked that it is much more fun to fly with someone else. Brotman Kaylor is unafraid to soar to a city with a friend, grab lunch, then turn around and take flight back home.

Flying has not only been a hobby in  Brotman Kaylor’s life. It became a full-time endeavor when Brotman Kaylor was just 22 years old. She flew commercially for a company called Air Inc of Maryland (Aircraft  Instruction and Rental Incorporated of Maryland). Back then, Brotman Kaylor took a corporation’s executives wherever they needed to go.

Flying positively impacted Brotman Kaylor’s personal development.

“It empowered me to be very strong and confident. I truly believe that my strength as a woman and as an individual really stems from my background in aviation,” she said.

Brotman Kaylor also worked as a flight instructor after she grew tired of the commercial flying schedule interfering with her personal life.

“I love teaching. I love giving other people the power to fly the aircraft,” Brotman Kaylor stated.

But family, life and business led Brotman Kaylor to take an approximate 20-year hiatus from flying. When her youngest daughter got married last September, the flying bug reenergized Brotman Kaylor to take to the skies during the next stage of her life.  She reached out to a flight school based at Martin State Airport. The transition was pretty fast. Paul Kaiser got her back up to speed with her flying, including regulations. Brotman Kaylor explained that a pilot medical recertification requirement must be fulfilled. It is valid for 12 months at a time.

 “I had to get my medical redone and get certified. The world of flying has drastically changed since I was flying 20 years prior to that. Not the flying the plane has changed, that all came back very quickly, but airspace has really changed and there was a lot of education that I needed. Things are all digital now with what’s called a glass cockpit instead of the old steam gauge instruments. I believe it’s a safer world out there than it was when I was flying 40 years ago taking a plane out for fun,”

Brotman Kaylor stated that it is critical for women to be persistent about trying new things or hobbies. Her 32-year-old daughter, Cori Kaylor Stethem, resides in Dallas, Texas. She has taken notice of her mother’s confident and adventurous spirit. Brotman Kaylor shared that Kaylor Stethem recently remarked that “most people, when they get older, start playing, Sudoku. My mom got current as a commercial pilot and flight instructor.”

Brotman Kaylor is a reminder that life should be enjoyed in the midst of work and life’s busy obligations. Fear should be exchanged for bravery. Gender stereotypes can be chipped away and eradicated.

“There’s no reason why somebody can’t try something that a man does. I think especially in today’s world,” Brotman Kaylor added.

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