First Woman Pilot for Hughes Airwest by Mary Bush Shipko
is the captivating story of one of the first women pilots to break into the
all-male airline flight cockpit. Hired in 1976 at Hughes Airwest, Mary Bush made
a herculean effort to overcome the resistance and harassment she faced in such a
position, but it was to no avail.
Mary was introduced to flying at an early age. She
started flying as a teenager, studying and training long hours until she
painstakingly obtained her ratings one by one. Financial hardships hit the
family hard, though, and Mary--desperate for both flying experience and
money--headed down to the infamous Corrosion Corner in South Florida to be a
"freight dog" for fly-by-night operators. However, she was frequently denied
work because of her gender. She kept praying, working, and struggling, though,
with the hope of one day becoming an airline pilot, a job in which she would
have both steady work and steady pay.
Then, after her brother is lost at sea in one of the
family airplanes, Mary is more determined than ever to become a pilot at an
airline, just as her brother had planned to be. So, when she is offered the
position at Hughes Airwest, Mary is thrilled. Going out west to fly jets was
everything she had dreamed of and worked for. The discrimination and lewd
remarks she had often faced in Florida, though, had not even come close to
preparing her for the relentless harassment she would encounter as the first
woman pilot at an airline.