Women in Aviation
Early Boeing Pioneers & United Airlines Supports Girls in Aviation Day
Jim Davis of HeraldNet read about the Women of NASA Lego set and then read an idea suggested by Science writer Maia Weinstock which suggested people to submit other groups of women who could serve as role models. The goal: new Lego sets. Mr. Davis then went to “Trailblazers: The Women of the Boeing Company” to find his candidates.
Here are his nominees (Lego, we support Mr. Davis’ recommendations):
1. Ellen Church
The pre-eminent woman of Boeing’s early days, Church was a pilot and a nurse who approached the company seeking to fly an airplane commercially. Boeing Air Transport, as it was called then, didn’t hire her, but was intrigued by another of her ideas.
Church recommended putting nurses on airplanes to combat the fear of flying. She was hired as the company’s head stewardess and she recruited other women who eventually came to be called the sky girls. The concept of flight attendants has become a staple of the industry.
Church eventually did get in the pilot’s seat — flying a Model 80A for 20 hours from Chicago to San Francisco. She then served as a captain in the Army Nurse Corps during World War II.
2. Annabella Morgan
Rosie the Riveter is almost synonymous with Boeing’s efforts during World War II. Thousands of woman flocked to the Puget Sound area to build the planes that helped win the war.
One of those women was Annabella Morgan, who rode the train from New Orleans to Seattle shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. She was hired at Boeing as a “rivet bucker” for B-17s, becoming part of a wave of African-American Rosies.
Morgan was promoted to riveter with a pay increase from 99 cents to $1.29 an hour. She recalls in the “Trailblazers” book the clapping and cheering when President Harry Truman announced the war was over. Her job ended shortly after that.
3. Bessie Marie Dempsey
In 1974, Boeing employed 330 women as engineers. That has grown to the thousands. The first woman to work as an aeronautical engineer at Boeing was Bessie Marie Dempsey.
She started her career as a ballerina, vaudeville dancer and Hollywood star. She was a dancer in “A Night at the Opera” with the Marx Brothers, according to “Trailblazers.”
But she gave up the entertainment career to study mechanical engineering. She graduated in the top 10 percent of her class and joined Boeing in 1948. She worked for the company for 24 years.
4. Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann
Darcy-Hennemann joined Boeing in 1974 as an engineer, but her career would take her to the skies.
In 1985, she became the first woman hired as a test pilot at Boeing. In 1989, she became the first woman rated as a captain on the 747-400.
In 2005, she and her crew flew a 777-200LR from Hong Kong to London, breaking the distance record in the greater-than-661,000-pound weight class.
She was the first woman to join the elite Boeing Engineering Flight Test group. She would later serve as Boeing’s chief training pilot for more than 550 instructors worldwide.
5. Elizabeth Lund
As one of the top Boeing executives in Snohomish County, Lund stands out. She’s been the vice president and general manager of the 777 program in Everett since 2013.
In the role, she leads the design, development, certification, production and delivery of all models of the Boeing 777 airplanes in production.
Lund trained as a mechanical engineer and has held leadership positions in engineering, program management, manufacturing, and supplier management across Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
She earlier headed the 747 program and worked on the Air Force KC-X tanker program.
Good job, Mr. Davis and Lego, we promise to buy many sets of the Boeing women for our children and grandchildren.
United Airlines Supports WAI’s Girls In Aviation Day As Major Participant
Five United Locations Have Planned Events
United Airlines will roll out the red carpet for local community girls at five United Airlines locations across the United States on September 23, 2017, as part of the Women in Aviation International (WAI) Girls in Aviation Day events. Through a variety of experiences and activities, United Airlines will introduce these girls to the excitement of a major airport while they learn the various career possibilities open to them in aviation.
“These lucky girls will get a behind-the-scenes view of the operations of a major airline at a large airport,” says WAI President Dr. Peggy Chabrian. “But the bonus is that through United’s efforts, the girls will meet and get to know the people who keep an airline running from different departments.”
Plans for Girls in Aviation Day at United include:
United at Chicago O’Hare
United Airlines and uIMPACT, United’s Business Resource Group for women, will host a Girls in Aviation Day event for the second year in a row at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. This year, between 40 and 60 high school-aged girls who are family members of employees will tour four different operational groups at O’Hare including Inflight Services, Operations Control Center, Customer Service and Ramp Services. They will also learn about the various career opportunities available for women in the aviation field during two panel discussions and Q&A session with women working in management and operational roles. Girls will be provided lunch and goodie bags.
United at San Francisco
The San Francisco uIMPACT Western Region Chapter will host its second annual Girls in Aviation Day event at San Francisco International Airport. Girls from the local Explorer Club and employees’ daughters, nieces, and granddaughters will tour various stations around the airport including Customer Service boarding process, ramp activities, lunch onboard an aircraft with crew interaction and conversations with Technical Operations maintenance personnel. They will also learn about the various career opportunities available for women in the aviation field during a panel discussion and Q&A session with United employees.
United at Denver
The Denver uIMPACT Chapter will be hosting more than 30 girls between the ages of 12-18 who are family members of employees and have a strong interest in the aviation industry. The girls will have the opportunity to get up close to two mainline aircraft at the United Maintenance Hangar at Denver International Airport. While they are at the hangar, the girls will talk to female personnel who represent many of United’s operating groups including Flight Operations, Aircraft Maintenance, Inflight Services, Operations Control Center, Customer Service and Ramp Services. The girls will also have an opportunity to network with WAI Chapter members who will provide resources for the girls to utilize as they pursue an aviation career. Girls will be provided lunch and goodie bags.
United at Orlando
United personnel will partner with the WAI Central Florida Chapter to host a Girls in Aviation Day event at Orlando International Airport (MCO) for the third year in a row. This year Orlando will host 40 girls from grades 8-12. Named “Spend the Day at Orlando International Airport,” the day will consist of touring United’s Maintenance facilities in MCO and a presentation on fixed base operators (FBOs) by Signature Flight Support, and a presentation on the “Principles of Flight-General Aviation Aircraft.” The girls will see an Airport Fire Department demonstration, a Wildlife Control presentation, and participate with a “Lunch and Learn” with the Embry-Riddle World Wide Campus Director on Careers in Aviation. After lunch, the girls will hear a history of the Transportation Security Administration and see a K-9 demonstration.
United Airlines at Los Angeles
Los Angeles uIMPACT will partner with the WAI Greater Los Angeles chapter to offer 40 junior high and high school girls the opportunity to experience firsthand what working in the aviation industry is all about. The girls will tour United’s Operations Control Center, Inflight Services, Customer Service, Ramp Service and Technical Operations. Three guest speakers from United who are top female station leaders will talk about their careers. The girls will enjoy lunch served on board an aircraft and be given a fun goodie bag to take home.
“Many thanks to United Airlines for their commitment to a strong and diverse aviation workforce now and in the future,” adds Dr. Chabrian. “Through these events, who knows what career interests this day will spark?”
More information on Girls in Aviation Day, September 23, 2017, including information about other local chapter and corporate member events, can be found at www.wai.org/giad.
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