Women Pilots of Alaska

37 Interviews and Profiles


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About the Book

Since the time of its inception, the field of aviation has rapidly grown in both importance and popularity. The acceptance and recognition of women’s participation and achievements in this activity, however, did not develop with nearly the same speed.
The first biographical history of women pilots in Alaska, this work explores the challenges faced by women of Alaska as they pursued roles in aviation—something that had long been considered part of “the men’s world”. Beginning in 1927 with Marvel Crosson and reaching to the present day, 37 adventurous and personal tales are offered, including that of an ultralight flyer, the first woman to become U.S. Aerobatic Champion, a parachute jumper, the first woman to fly in a small airplane over the North Pole and an Iditarod dog musher. Questions about why these women chose to fly; where they learned; when they soloed; what it meant to them to become a pilot; what challenges they faced in such a non-traditional role; and why they chose the skies of Alaska are addressed as these intriguing stories are told.

About the Author(s)

Freelance writer Sandi Sumner lives in Florissant, Colorado.

Bibliographic Details

Sandi Sumner
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: 71 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2005
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1937-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3222-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      VII
Preface      1
Introduction      3

1. Stand up, Stand out: Margo Cook      7
2. A Natural Gift: Marvel Crosson      11
3. First to Solo: Irene Irvine Ryan      15
4. Why Not? Mary Barrow Worthylake      19
5. One Woman’s Journey: Mary Joyce      26
6. Alaska’s Favorite: Ruth Martin Jefford      29
7. No Place for a Woman: Pearl Laska Chamberlain      35
8. One in Twelve: Virginia Merrill Clayton      41
9. No Wheat Fields in Alaska: Ginny Wood      45
10. The Environmentalist: Celia Hunter      50
11. A Bird in the Air: Amy Lou Barney      53
12. Ruby the Riveter: Ruby Pappas      58
13. Flying Doctor: Dr. Nancy Sydnam      62
14. Still Smiling: Ann Wilbur      67
15. A Test of Endurance: Ingrid Pedersen      73
16. An Exceptional Girl: Dorothy Magoffin      78
17. Perseverance: Darlene Dubay      84
18. Monday’s My Day Off: Heidi Ruess      91
19. A Survivor: Ellen Paneok      96
20. Turned on by Learning: Caren Della Cioppa      105
21. Pancho Flies Again: Louise Gettman      110
22. Sheer Energy: Dee Rice      117
23. Sky Dancer: Patty Wagstaff      122
24. To Hell and Back: Megan Rust      130
25. A Wild Hair: Charlotte Luckett      134
26. No Strings: Ginny Jacober      140
27. Invincible: Phyllis Tate      145
28. Drop Zone: Carol Redding      151
29. A Million-Dollar View: Jeni Hunter      155
30. Two Babes and a Bird: Keli Mahoney and LeeAnn Wetzel      160
31. Choices: Roberta Degenhardt      169
32. All Trails Lead to Here: Terri Laclair      175
33. Flying Across the Tundra: Diana Moroney      180
34. It’s Never Boring: Carrie Licht      188
35. A Love Affair: Dee Hanson      193
36. Juggling: Dr. Petra Illig      197
37. The Future: Audrey Cole      202

Index      207

Book Reviews & Awards

“Full of great stories and great people. It fills in an important part of aviation “herstory”—Heartland Magazine.