Live Your Journey: Dallan Wortham’s Growth Through Flying and Family

By McKella Sawyer


Dallan in cockpit alone

Everyone’s journey looks different, but every journey is about evolution!

Often, our journeys require us to make a choice between what we love and what we love more. This is part of how we grow and create a life that works for us and what’s most important to us.

Dallan Wortham is a digital marketing director here at Redmond Life, but up until June 2022, he was a commercial pilot. That’s when he made the decision to adjust his life blend to prioritize what matters the most to him.

Flying High

Dallan comes from a family of pilots. His grandpa flew in the air force, his uncle was an army fighter pilot, and his dad wanted to be a pilot but thought he couldn’t because he was colorblind. Luckily, he decided to go for it anyway and later became a Delta captain. Even Dallan’s twin brother flies the A-10 for the Air Force!

Naturally, Dallan wanted to fly as well to contribute to the family legacy, but flight school isn’t like signing up for summer camp. It pretty much becomes a full-time job for 3-5 years consisting of hundreds of hours of studying and flight instruction. Plus, it’s expensive and requires a big financial commitment. The pressure of it all was a determining factor in why Dallan waited until after college to begin. Eventually, he decided that life is too short and too incredible to not pursue something just because it’s hard.

So, he enrolled in flight school, and it was tough. “At the time, learning to fly was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Dallan says. “I thought it would be easy, like learning to drive a boat or a car, but it was hard to learn and hard to finance. You need 1,500 hours to even apply for an airline. It was a lot of time flying circles in the sky trying to build time. Each time I passed a big test or earned a new license was a big accomplishment.”

All of Dallan’s hard work paid off because, after his training, he became a commercial pilot for Skywest! He flew the Canadair Regional Jet built by Bombardier known as the CRJ.

Dallan in front of Delta plane

Dallan loved flying. “I enjoyed interacting with the passengers. I loved standing at the door and giving the kids those little wings to wear. I loved looking back and seeing a hundred people just chilling and trusting that I knew what I was doing. It was a big responsibility and a huge weight on my shoulders to make good decisions and be safe. We always tried to fly as if we were flying our own family.”

Dallan was a first officer, who sits in the right chair beside the captain. “We both fly the plane,” Dallan explains. “We do the same thing. We take turns flying while the other observes and keeps an eye on things. But the captain has the final say in decisions.”

He had lots of good times flying. One of his favorite memories was actually about an app.

“There’s an app called Flight Aware where people can follow airplane flights, just to see where they’re going. Thousands of people just follow because they think it’s fun. One day, I was flying from Green Bay to Minneapolis in the middle of a thunderstorm. We’d come down to land and have to take off again because of the heavy wind and rain. In aviation, anytime that a landing can’t be completed safely or with sure confidence, we simply add power and try again. We call it a ‘go-around.’ After multiple attempts to land, we finally got it down safely. Once arriving to our gate, the air traffic controller said, “Congrats! Your flight was the most followed worldwide today on Flight Aware.”

But his very favorite memories of flying involved his family. “On one flight, my dad flew in the cockpit with me. He sat in the jumpseat, which is an extra seat used for training or observation. I got to make my dad proud.”

Dallan with his dad and son

He also had the opportunity to fly with his wife and kids. “I got on the radio and told everyone my family was on board and what seat my wife was in so they could give her a hard time. Afterward, my son came up to the cockpit and I got to show him around. It was a surreal moment to see some of my biggest personal achievements (family and flying) together in a cockpit.”

Dallan and his son in cockpit

Even with an intense job as a pilot, family still came first in Dallan’s life.

Shifting Gears

While Dallan loved flying, it put a strain on his family life. Dallan has a wife, Catalina, and two children: Oliver, who’s 4, and Brielle, who’s 16 months. If you have kids, you know that this is an age where if you blink, you miss something.

“With the airlines, you’re going to miss Christmas and you have no say in it,” Dallan says. “You’ll miss your wife’s birthday or your anniversary. The scheduling department has your life in the palm of their hand. If I were a single guy, it would be the coolest gig in the world. But with family, it’s hard. It’s not impossible, lots of families do it and travel the world, and they love it. But with my situation, my wife’s love language is quality time, so it was hard on us.”

Dallan started to scale back on flying and began freelancing with Redmond, while still flying for the airlines. But with the pilot shortage, he started flying a lot more and missing work and meetings.

Dallan tried to find a balance. “But balls kept getting dropped,” he says. “And the first ball was Redmond. With flying, family, Redmond, and church, it was too much. It wasn’t working.” He decided to pause flying so he could be around more for his family.

Like any tough choice between things we love, the shift hasn’t been easy. But it’s been worth it.

“It was a hard decision, but when I’m home with my kids on the weekends and my friends are in a hotel in New York or something, it helps and I feel like I made the right choice. I love being in control of my schedule. With Redmond, family and personal progress come first.”

He hasn’t closed the door on flying by any means and is staying open to future opportunities that may present themselves. In the meantime, he’s enjoying this phase of his life.

Finding a New Life Blend

“Is it a pause? I don’t know. I don’t know what will happen,” Dallan says. “I haven’t closed that chapter 100% yet. We’re taking it one day at a time.”

Right now, Dallan’s excited about “basic dad stuff.”

“I love driving my mini-van, feeding my chickens, landscaping my yard, and doing dad stuff around the house,” he says with a big smile. “I love taking my kids to the rock climbing gym, and I love watching my son do a new route. He also plays soccer. Everything is new for him, and it’s the first time I’ve been a dad, so it’s new for me too. When he says ‘I love you, Dad’ or ‘Thank you,’ I just think, ‘this is the best.’”

Dallan’s loving his new life blend of being a husband and dad and working with Redmond. “I’m so excited for our new product launches and the direction that Redmond’s going, especially Redmond Life. It’s such an exciting time to be a part of this company because there’s always something new that we’re creating or promoting.”

When he’s not working, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Catalina, who just became a US citizen! They love visiting her family in Chile, baking Chilean bread, and speaking Spanish at home with their kids.

While he’s not sure what the future holds for flying, Dallan loves his life. “I’m happy where I am at Redmond. I have no plans to change because Redmond’s awesome and I have so much fun here. This is a special place to work because everything is done with the goal of elevating the human experience. I feel blessed to work at Redmond Life and be apart of something so uplifting”

Dallan is a vital part of our Redmond Life team, and we are so glad he decided to make Redmond a part of his journey!

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