Candi Kubeck bigraphy, stories - American airline pilot

Candi Kubeck : biography

May 10, 1961 - May 11, 1996

Candalyn Chamberlain "Candi" Kubeck (May 10, 1961May 11, 1996) was an American commercial airline pilot and the captain of ValuJet Flight 592, which crashed in the Everglades on May 11, 1996, after oxygen generators illegally placed in a cargo hold that started and maintained a fire that disrupted aircraft functionality and flooded the entire cabin and cockpit with smoke. The crash made Kubeck the first female captain to die in a commercial airline crash.


Memorial Scholarship

In honor of Kubeck, the National Intercollegiate Flying Association Foundation (NIFA) in conjunction with the Chamberlain and Kubeck families created the "Candi Chamberlain Kubeck Award". The $1,000 Scholarship is given out at the Annual International Women in Aviation Conference (WAI) to the nationally ranked Top Female Collegiate Pilot. The 2013 winner is Courtney Copping of Southern Illinois University. Courtney was not only the Top Female Pilot, but also holds the honor of Top Scoring Pilot of the 70 University and College aviation programs competing in NIFA Regional competitions.

Personal life

Kubeck married Roger Kubeck on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California in September 1987.

Early life and education

Kubeck was born in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, on May 10, 1961. She grew up in the San Diego area and often saw many military aircraft fly over her house. This inspired her to fly airplanes. So Candi started flying lessons while in high school. Kubeck went to Palomar College in San Marcos where she was a member of the flight team. Kubeck transferred to Metro State College in Denver, Colorado, where she earned her bachelor's degree in Aviation Studies in 1982. While at Metro she flew on the college flight team and was the Team Captain. She was awarded National Top Woman Pilot at the National Intercollegiate Flying Association's National SAFECON meeting in 1981. The award has since been named after her. She also earned a Ninety-Nines Amelia Earhart Memorial Flight Scholarship in 1983 and got to meet Amelia's sister, Muriel.


Candi Kubeck began as an instructor pilot at small airfields and working at various commuter and freight airlines based in California and Arizona . From there, she became an Air Traffic Controller at El Paso International Airport. But these were just the first steps to what she really wanted to be. She wanted to fly for commercial airlines. Kubeck applied for the major airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines, but they all turned her down. In 1989, she got to work for Eastern Airlines and became a first officer in Eastern's biggest plane, the Airbus A300. She crossed a picket line of striking pilots to land a job at Eastern Airlines—a move she thought necessary to break in. Kubeck left Eastern after it closed in 1991. When Valujet started in 1993 she was hired almost immediately. Kubeck became a captain for ValuJet Airlines and flew DC-9s.

Crash of ValuJet Flight 592

On May 11, 1996, Valujet Flight 592, a DC-9 she was piloting, crashed into the Florida Everglades just ten minutes after take-off. The disaster was caused when expired oxygen canisters illegally stored in the cargo hold started a fire. The flight was scheduled to leave at 1:00 pm, but because of mechanical problems there was a delay. The DC-9 took off from Miami International Airport on runway 9L at 2:04 pm and began a normal climb.

At 2:10 pm, Captain Kubeck and First Officer Richard Hazen heard a loud bang on their headphones. Kubeck said, "What was that?" Then the DC-9 began losing electrical power. Kubeck said, "We need, we need to go back to Miami." Hazen asked Air Traffic Control for an immediate return back to Miami. Air traffic controller Jesse Fisher asked, "What kind of problem are you having?" Kubeck cried out "Fire!" to Hazen, but he told Fisher, "Uh smoke in the cockpit, smoke in the cabin" because there was no visible fire to the pilots. Kubeck's cry of "Fire!" was her last word heard on the cockpit voice recorder. When the plane was turning left to Miami, the plane banked sharply to the left, which caused the plane to lose lift on the wings and fall from the sky. Kubeck struggled with the aircraft, but it was to no avail; the fire had melted all of the wiring and hydraulic cables in the back of the plane, making it uncontrollable. Kubeck and her crew and passengers passed out from the toxic fumes that were produced as the plane burned. The DC-9 plummeted nose first in the Everglades, shattering upon impact and killing everyone on board instantly. There was no chance of getting the plane on the ground safely. Rescue workers recovered no intact bodies, only human remains. Kubeck's remains were never found; since she was in the cockpit, she and Hazen would have been dismembered.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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