Friday's Fabulous Flyer
Mary earned her private license in 1973 and her commercial and CFI in 1974. She also attended an Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) school and earned those ratings in 1974. She became and A &P Inspector (IA) in 1977.
Unfortunately there were no jobs for women then, so she applied to become an air traffic controller. She told me that the airlines had a height requirement of 5'6" at the time, and she is "only 5'0'" Mary was a controller for 26 years, in Lawton, Ok and Ft. Worth Meacham, and retired in 2002. However, she was also flying corporate and teaching throughout the years as a controller. She became a Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) in 2009.
Mary, granddaughter Amanda, and A & P, IA daughter Tamara. All three have their CFII and MEI ratings.
Mary created the GIFT Academy in 2011. GIFT Academy is "Girls in Flight Training," which is a non-profit that Mary began because of her passion for aviation, and the support of female flyers.
"I wanted to figure out why the percentage of women hadn't increased since I started flying and to increase that percentage."
Mary also wanted to develop a program to help more women achieve their goals. Mary has great insight into what she has learned over the years, through her instructing and working with the girls, and is glad to share her lessons learned.
"Fear and lack of confidence are
the obstacles that we bring with us
that hold us back."
Mary believes that "Women want (need) to know WHY and usually don't get that in their training." Sadly in the airline world, I have noticed that this need to know has come across as lack of confidence or knowledge. However, it's a learning style and a good one at that. Mary has figured our what it takes for female learners to become pilots. The truth is, I think the male counterparts could benefit from this too.
- Peer to peer support
- Addressing the fear head-on
- Non-judgmental classroom
- Appropriately behaving CFI's
- Willingness to answer ANY questions in ground school.
Mary's program has worked well, because she has realized "The all female class makes this much more open. Some questions just wouldn't be asked or addressed in a mixed class."
How does she know it's worked well? Because, "The last two years as a DPE, more than 30% of the certificates I issued went to women. Compared to a national average of about 6%." That is huge!
|Mary administered her granddaughter's, Amanda Griffith, |
Mary has many stories to go along with those ratings, plus tons of experiences that needs to be shared. You can expect a book coming soon. She also offered to let me use her stories in one of my novels. Now... wouldn't that be fun! I'm sure we will be hearing much more from Mary Latimer in the future.
Enjoy the Journey!