Navy Officer, Navigator, Dispatcher and Engineer

As a child inspired by the American space program in the 1960’s, I soaked up
all the math and science courses offered by my schools.  I enlisted in the US
Navy at age 18 and took advantage of many aviation-related education
opportunities for the next 28 years, including learning to operate and
maintain flight simulators, completing flight training as a Naval Flight Officer,
graduating from US Naval Test Pilot School, and earning a Bachelor’s degree
in Aerospace Engineering and a Master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering.  

As a Naval Flight Officer I flew in 67 types of military aircraft, with primary
qualifications in the EC-130Q, F/A-18D, E-6A, S-3A/B, and F-15E.  I was the
first American woman to qualify as a crewmember in the F/A-18 (F/A-18D,
1990, Weapon Systems Officer), having been in the right place at the right
time (educated, experienced, and qualified) when the F/A-18 opportunity
presented itself.  I was the first woman to qualify as a crewmember in the F-
15 (F-15E, 1992, Weapons Systems Officer); however, in spite of my
qualifications I had to wage a 2-year war with the Secretary of Defense
before the F-15 opportunity became reality.  

In 1991, I and other military women aviators helped educate the US Senate
on career restrictions caused by the 1948 “Aviation Combat Exclusion” laws,
leading directly to the repeal of those laws.  Since 1993 when President
Clinton changed the policy regarding assignment of women to combat
missions, women now fly all military aircraft in almost every military mission.

I currently fly for Boeing Test and Evaluation, at Boeing Field in Seattle,
Washington, as a System Operator for production test flights of the Boeing
737, and as a Flight Navigator for ferry flights and engineering test flights
(Boeing 737, 757, 767, and 777).  I have now logged over 5000 flight hours
in 71 aircraft types.  

I am currently the only woman in the USA to be FAA certificated as a Flight
Navigator.  In 2009, the United Kingdom’s Guild of Air Pilots and Air
Navigators awarded me a Master Air Navigator certificate in London, England.  
I am believed to be the first woman to receive the Master Air Navigator

I am a founding board member of Women in Aviation International (WAI) and
a past president of Women Military Aviators, Inc. (WMA).  I also mentor and
support women aviators worldwide, through such organizations as Canadian
Women in Aviation (CWIA), Aviation and Women in Europe (AWE), the
Russian Club of Women Aviators (Aviatrissa), Southern African Women in
Aviation (SAWIA), and Women Aviators in Africa (WAFRIC).

If there is anything I would like to be noted for, it is my work to inspire and
motivate young people to pursue careers in math, science, and aviation.  I am
a mentor for the Aviation High School in Seattle, a workshop presenter for
Sally Ride Science Festivals around the country, and a mentor for several
aerospace museums nationwide which encourage young people to navigate a
path to success in the world of aviation.
Using aviation to entertain
and educate girls about
their limitless
Using aviation to entertain
and educate girls about
their limitless
Using aviation to entertain
and educate girls about
their limitless
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