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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

Type rated on A330, B747-400, B747, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Mary Latimer Gift to Flying

Friday's Fabulous Flyer 

Mary Latimer

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."

"Lack of respect, physical touching 
and other harassment are far to common."

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. 

Stephanie and Mary. 
"Stephanie was one of my greatest successes. She came to GIFT to get over her fear enough to be able to ride with her husband and not scare the kids. Imagine my pleasure and pride in issuing her a pilot certificate 14 months later."

  • 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,
instrument rating. 

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!
XO Karlene 


  1. Mary's professional history is an inspiration to many. And, some off the early career events can also cause anger. She should have had a better deal, 'vertically challenged,' or not. She is a genuine treasure!
    (And still no direct email. Sorry.)

    1. Craig, She should not have been limited to anything she wanted to do.

      She is an amazing lady giving back to many. At the end of the day, we wonder what the purpose of life is. If it's about making a difference in the world and other's lives, I do believe Mary is fulfilling her purpose every day.

      Thanks for your comments!


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