Friday, June 19, 2015

AVIATRIX: First Woman Pilot for Hughes Airwest (Mary Bush Shipko)

AVIATRIX: First Woman Pilot for Hughes Airwest
Mary Bush Shipko
Nonfiction, Autobiography
**** (Good)

DESCRIPTION: Growing up among the surplussed war planes in Miami's "Corrosion Corner," Mary Bush took to flying from an early age. She fought prejudice and sexism to become an accomplished pilot out of Florida, but set her sights even higher: a coveted job as a commercial airline pilot, still very much a men's-only profession despite equal opportunity laws. She finally got her chance with Hughes Airwest - but the Good Ol' Boy network had no intention of letting the upstart little lady succeed.

REVIEW: I downloaded this not only because it looked interesting on its own, but because my late grandfather worked for Airwest (not as a pilot.) Reading this book reminded me of listening to stories, from him and other relatives, about airplanes and pilots... though, being men, they never faced the sort of problems Shipko encountered, problems that eventually led to physical symptoms. Though occasionally disorganized, this is an interesting look at one woman's life on wings - and how dreams can be crushed by living nightmares, especially in the days before the law even acknowledged sexual harassment as a real thing. (Given her experiences, I have to wonder about the possible hidden meaning of Hughes Airwest's ads, which I dimly recall from childhood, touting themselves as "the Top Banana in the West.") Pioneers like Shipko helped clear the path for future generations, even if it remains rough today. By turns amusing, inspiring, and depressing, I found it an overall interesting read - though I admit that part of my enjoyment likely stemmed from nostalgia.

You Might Also Enjoy:
Broken Wings (Sylvie Kurtz) - My Review
Letters of a Woman Homesteader (Elinore Pruitt Stewart) - My Review
Insubordinate Spirit (Missy Wolfe) - My Review

1 comment:

  1. I have found this book very interesting and hard to set down once you start to read . the photos are nice to see of the planes from a bygone era of propeller driven airliners and cargo haulers. I found this book refreshing to read.