Kitty Banner

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Inspired at 14 years old by the motivational book "The Art of Living," Kitty Banner, in turn, became a motivation and inspiration to many who came to know her.

Having visited Alaska at age 19, hiking and exploring with a friend, Kitty knew that she would one day return. By age 22, with pilot license in hand, she held true to that calling and began her career as an Alaskan Bush and Glacier Pilot. She learned to fly a variety of aircraft including Cessna 180 and 185s as well as Piper Super Cubs on wheel skis and floats.

Once licensed as a pilot, Kitty went on to obtain an Instrument rating, her Commercial License, Seaplane, Glider and Flight Instructor Ratings.

Kitty was one of the rare pilots whose schedule could include landings and takeoffs on high altitude glaciers loaded with gear and mountain climbers from all over the world who came to Talkeetna, Alaska to attempt ascent of one of the toughest mountains on earth, Denali. She flew seaplane operations, mountaineers, explorers, hunters and fishermen to remote areas and lakes, often flying with exterior loads as well as exterior-mounted cameras for aerial filming and action photography.     

Kitty was one of the first women pilots to co-found and co-own an Alaskan Air Taxi Service. The flourishing K2, named for Kitty Banner and Kimball Forrest still welcomes climbers, hunters, photographers, sightseers, fishermen and adventurers to the compelling Alaskan Range near Talkeetna today.

Far more exciting and chilling than routine takeoffs and landings are Kitty’s exploits at the controls of light aircraft in the fluctuating weather conditions of the wild north. Her every flight included threats of real and fatal danger, carrying passengers and gear to precarious ice and snow-covered sites fraught with the potential of avalanches, rock slides, wild animals and blizzard white-outs.

Kitty had much to learn and to experience. She offers a great deal in motivation and inspiration as, to quote Holly Sheldon of Sheldon Air Service, “one of the first chicks” to become an accomplished glacier pilot.

In addition to Kitty's time in the air she is one of the founding directors of the Three Lakes Community Foundation.

The Alaska Air Carriers Association & The Alaska Aviation Community have honored Kitty Banner and Kimball Forrest as “Aviation Legends.” "Wings of Her Dreams" tells her story.