7 Women on the Cutting Edge of Aviation

Betty Turner WASP at ANC
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WIA HONORS WASPs at Arlington National Cemetery

Good time to review Contributions of  Women Today

Aussie head of CASA, Thunderbirds, Integrity’s NASA creator, Federal Air Surgeon and new NTSB Chair

Women in Aviation is an excellent organization; it seeks “to inspire and stand for encouragement, continued education, and a whole lot of fun!” The cover graphic is a example of fulfilling those goals, honoring the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs). This gravestone is emblematic of WIA’s and individuals’ campaign to convince the Arlington National Cemetery management that the WASPs earned the right to be have that hallowed field as their final resting place.

Gloria Heath


Gloria Heath






This initiative was a reminder that there are women TODAY who are trailblazing their own careers. Here are a few examples:


Pip Spence

A changing of the guard at Australia’s aviation safety regulator has seen the national government appoint a departmental deputy secretary as the agency’s first female chief executive.[1]Pip Spence is due to start as chief executive and director of aviation safety in the next few weeks after working as deputy secretary of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications…Transport Minister Michael McCormack said in a statement that the appointment would bring vast experience to the critical air safety role. McCormack said Spence offered substantial experience in aviation policy and regulation as well as government administration and public policy. This included a strong record of leading organizational change…

The depth and breadth of experience that Ms. Spence …bring to bear show the Government is serious about ensuring CASA performs its critical role effectively.

“…skills and experience will be essential for leading this critical regulator in keeping Australians safe while flying, as well as supporting an efficient, effective and reliable aviation industry – which is economically crucial for communities right across the nation…”According to a biography on the Women in Economics Network mentoring site, Ms Spence’s career includes a number of senior leadership roles in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet…She started her government career in the Transport Department, where she worked in a number of aviation-related areas, including as adviser to the then Minister.

She has a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Tasmania and a Graduate Diploma in Economics from the Australian National University.CASA seal









The female leaders of the Thunderbirds


GIADWAI2021 Interviews 

Thunderbird team ZOOM with students

One scene of the impressive video.

Michelle Curran

Maj. Michelle Curran


Maj. Michelle Curran is the Lead Solo Pilot for the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, flying the No. 5 jet. She majored in Criminal Justice at the University of St. Thomas and earned her commission in 2009 through the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program. Throughout school, she participated in track and field and was a figure skater. She also enjoys mountaineering, rock climbing, hiking and spending time with family in her spare time. Prior to joining the Thunderbirds, she served as an F-16 instructor pilot at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth, Texas. She has logged more than 1,500 flight hours as an Air Force pilot, with more than 160 combat hours over Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and Operation Resolute Support. She is in her third season with the team and hails from Medford, Wis.

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#10 Capt. Katie Moorkamp


Capt. Katie MoorkampExecutive Officer

Capt. Katie Moorkamp is the Executive Officer for the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron. She leads an executive support staff responsible for the team’s cyber/knowledge operations, budget, training, and force support actions for the Commander/Leader. She earned her commission in 2013 as a graduate of U.S. Air Force Academy. While majoring in Foreign Area Studies, she was a thrower on the track and field team all four years. She is also an avid skier and enjoys paddle boarding and functional fitness. During her Air Force career, she has served as a sexual assault response coordinator, and led personnel teams across the United States and the Republic of Korea. Before joining the Thunderbirds, she was the Assistant Chief of Senior Leader Management for Headquarters Air Combat Command at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. She is in her second season with the team and hails from Wildwood, Mo.

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#12 Maj. Remoshay NelsonMaj. Remoshay Nelson

Public Affairs Officer

Maj. Remoshay Nelson is the Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron. She is responsible for the team’s marketing, recruiting and publicity programs. She majored in Speech Communications at Howard University and earned her commission in 2011 through the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program. In college, she was a campus and community leader, member of Alpha Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and studied abroad in North Africa and Europe. She enjoys volunteerism, reading, traveling and spending quality time with friends and family in her spare time. During her Air Force career, she has led public affairs teams in Turkey, Botswana and various locations in Europe. Before joining the Thunderbirds, she was the Chief of Public Affairs for the 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea. She is in her second season with the team and hails from Douglasville, Ga.

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WASP commemorative sign

MiMi Aung, project manager at NASA, led on the first helicopter flight on an extraterrestrial planet.

MiMi Aung and Ingenuity

(link to video presentation)

MiMi Aung, a 30-year veteran of JPL and the project leader for the Ingenuity helicopter mission.

For Aung, the Mars helicopter technology demonstration is a chance to explore the red planet from a whole new angle.

“I want to add a real dimension to space exploration — that’s what drove me,” she says. “We study Mars with spacecraft in orbit. And we have rovers now on the surface that can rove. But we’re not using the aerial dimension. Adding that dimension was what drove me.”

The entire build and design process was an exercise in teamwork, troubleshooting and a constant effort to reduce mass so the helicopter could actually fly. The engineering team established that the helicopter would need twin rotors measuring 4 feet (1.2 meters) to generate lift in the Martian atmosphere and, as a result, the entire body could not weigh more than 4 pounds (1.8 kilograms).

“Every discipline really had to come together and say, ‘Under this less-than-4-pound limit, can we pack in this capability of all the computers, all the rotor systems, all the sensors, batteries, solar panels, landing gear, all of that — can they all be packed in in an unprecedented way?” says Aung. “Everybody had to pitch in and every gram was a challenge.”







The Right Doctor For Difficult Aviation Medical Issues

Dr. Northrup CV

Dr. Susan E. Northrup was  recently appointed[3] U.S. Federal Air Surgeon at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), where she will oversee the agency’s medical initiatives and aeromedical education programs.  Northrup succeeds Dr. Michael Berry,MD, MS who held the role since January 2017.

Northrup is  the first female to be selected for the position and will oversee  airman medical certification, air traffic control specialist medical qualification policy, medical decision-making policy, aeromedical education programs, medical appeals, medical and human factors research, drug and alcohol testing programs, and aircraft accident investigations involving medical factors.

Northrup most recently served as acting deputy federal air surgeon, where she led FAA efforts to develop contingency plans to maintain continuity of operations at air traffic control facilities impacted by COVID-19. She currently chairs an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) working group on international entry testing and vaccination documentation, and also serves on ICAO’s Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation group.

Dr. Northrup is a senior FAA aviation medical examiner. She  is a past President of the American Society of Aerospace Medicine Specialists and the Civil Aviation Medical Association. She also was vice-president for the Aerospace Medicine Association. Dr. Northrup spent nine years (2007-2016) as a trustee for the American Board of Preventive Medicine. She is on the adjunct faculty for the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine and is a Fellow of the Aerospace Medicine Association.

 A private pilot and aircraft owner, Northrup previously served as the FAA’s former senior regional flight surgeon for the Southern Region. She is also a retired U.S. Air Force colonel and was deployed as part of Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield and served as the U.S. head of delegation at the NATO Aeromedical Working Group.

She later served as commander of the 94th Aeromedical Staging Squadron at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Georgia from February 2009 through November 2010. Prior to that, Northrup served as medical consultant for the National Pilots Association and regional medical director for Air Crew and Passenger Health Services for Delta Air Lines.

Northrup graduated from the Ohio State University in 1985 with a B.A. in chemistry and received her M.D. degree in 1989. She went on to earn a Master of Public Health degree in 1994 from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, after which she served a residency in occupational medicine at the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine at Brooks Air Force Base in Texas

Dr. Northrup’s military career was  exemplary demonstrated by her recognitions:  FAA Flight Surgeon of the Year, TAC Flight Surgeon of the Year, and the recipient of the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters.

Biden set to nominate Homendy to head U.S. NTSB

Jennifer Homendy

President Joe Biden is expected to nominate Jennifer Homendy to chair the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), sources briefed on the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

Homendy has served on the board since 2018 and previously was a senior House of Representatives Democratic staffer working on transportation issues…

The NTSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating all civil aviation accidents in the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation.




[1] Jane Garvey  was the first female Administrator of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and her term-1997 to 2002- was the first to fulfill a five year statutory limit. In May 2018, she was tapped to become the first female Chairman of United Continental Holdings

Honor the WASP



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