Aviation for Women

SEP-OCT 2018

Aviation for Women is the flagship member publication of Women in Aviation International. Articles feature women who have made aviation history, professional development ideas, and current-topic articles.

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S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 8 AviationforWomen 31 letting something go gets easier. The DPE job puts her in a different financial position. "I don't see any reason to not work," Mary says. "I love what I do. It's stimulating. It forces me to stay healthy and forces me to stay up on all the regulations." The FA A actually approached Mary to become a flight instructor. They liked how she kept up her seaplanes. Once she'd been a CFI for a few years, they asked her to become an FA A DPE. To qualify, Mary had a few hoops to jump through. She needed more instrument flight instruction under her belt and 40 more hours of nighttime flying. Mary went to Florida to get the instrument instruction. The following winter, she stayed in Maine, getting the night- time flying hours in a rented Cessna 150. "It was so awesome," Mary says. "It was just a wonderful winter." That was 15 years ago, and Mary has no plans to retire. So much of how someone approaches retire- ment has to do with their own attitude and will- ingness to try new things. Years ago, Mary de- cided she would never refuse somebody who came to her with an idea for work. When her own parents retired at 65, Mary remembers how they both seemed to lose their identities. Her mom was a specialist in dyslexia and her dad was an executive at Boston Edison Company—both leaders in their field. "I just thought it was such a waste for them to have to retire," she says. "Their jobs were a refuge for them; they really had a chance to be themselves." Mary's husband, Jim, who was a skilled bush pilot, no longer flies, but she credits him with showing her how to do it. He could never ex- plain it, but Mary watched him fly and learned her trade from him. Now, Jim does the cooking, and she's the pilot. Over the years, she has come across some chauvinism, but Mary refuses to fo- cus on it. "You just have to do the very best that you can do," she says. "If you do a really good job, people are going to look for you. You don't have to fight your way through this—I experience a lot more respect than I receive disrespect." Aida Heeren, 71, WAI 17085 and an aerospace lecturer at Metro State University of Denver, used to fly for FedEx. She was forced to retire at the age of 60 (now it's 65), and initially, she stepped away from aviation altogether to follow a different passion. For two years, she managed a health food store in Denver. When an oppor- tunity to work at the South Pole popped up, Aida hung up her management job to become a com- munications specialist for six months, helping aircraft deliver supplies to Antarctica. "The South Pole job was a fantastic experi- ence," Aida says. W hen she ret ur ne d to D en ver, A id a a p - proached Metro, her alma mater, for an aero- space teaching job. Work is something she en- joys, although she wishes she could still f ly commercially. The job at FedEx enabled her to learn about different cultures. For 25 years, she was based in the Philippines. Aida also misses the airplanes she flew: the Boeing 727 and Air- bus 300 and 310. "It really doesn't get hard until you have to leave your profession," Aida says. "It is an adjust- ment. Men seem to have had more experience at this than women. For women to leave a ca- reer, for women to get booted out, that's kind of hard on us. We're not as prepared for it. The Kathy (top) loves to hang out at her airport in California and prefers to work every day. An experienced seaplane pilot, Mary (bottom)became a DPE and has no plans to retire. Kathy Zancanella Mary Build 65

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