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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of October 23 - 29, 2002

Opinion Columns

Women always outlast men like ‘Hootie’

Commentary by PAT MURPHY

"Hootie" Johnson, who runs the Augusta National Golf Club and Masters Tournament like a duchy, isn’t the first man to stubbornly resist opening a male domain to women before finally waking up to the folly of his ways.

One of the slowest, most obstinate and grossly insulting holdouts was the U.S. airline industry, which, in its words, considered women too physically weak, too emotionally unstable and symbolically unacceptable to passengers to be allowed up front on the flight deck.

American women began flying as early as 1911 (Harriett Quimby was the first licensed woman pilot). But the first documented U.S. woman airline pilot, Helen Ritchey, wasn’t hired until 1934 by Central Airlines. She was a woman of incredible aviation achievements (including flying with Amelia Earhart in the Bendix races) who beat out eight men for the job. Yet captains wouldn’t allow her to touch aircraft controls, and she literally was forced out of her job by the airline.

The worst affront to women pilots came after World War II, when hundreds of Women Air Special Pilots who’d ferried the fastest fighter planes and largest bombers were told they were incapable of being airline pilots—while thousands of men who’d flown the same aircraft were hired in droves.

Finally, in 1973, Frontier Airlines broke down barriers and hired Emily Warner as a co-pilot. Her acceptance forced other airlines to gradually and grudgingly open pilot ranks to women.

While writing an article about women pilots, I attended a meeting of the International Society of Women Airline Pilots +21 in Denver, and watched a roomful of women hang on every word as Emily Warner recounted her struggle for an airline job. Each woman there had a tale of persistence trying to put their piloting skills to use at airlines.

I bring this up because earlier this month, now Emily Warner Howell, who retired from a distinguished career including as an airline captain, was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame where women of courage and persistence are enshrined for their pioneering spirit.

Now, thousands of women throughout the world are members of what once was a "men’s club"—flying the U.S. shuttle into outer space, in combat in the Gulf War, as captains on the jumbo Boeing 747s, as pilots on the supersonic British Concorde, as mothers sharing piloting duties on jet airliners with their sons and daughters, as daughters flying with their pilot fathers, and sometimes in command of all-female flight and passenger cabin crews.

When pilot-wife-mom Jean Harper finally got her stripes as a captain flying out of Denver for United Airlines in 1986, she told me she requested a special co-pilot for her maiden flight as commander of a Boeing 737: her first officer husband, Vic.

Just how tight has security around the U.S. president become?

A longtime journalist friend, Lloyd Clark, sends me a copy of a photo he shot of President Eisenhower on Oct. 10, 1952, as Ike entered a convertible at the Phoenix railroad station for a drive through downtown.

While other photographers surrounded the car with no Secret Service inference, Lloyd found his way to the roof of the station to look down on the open car.

When the president entered the car, Lloyd yelled, "Ike!" and snapped a photo from above as Eisenhower looked up, waved and flashed his signature grin.

In today’s tight security, no photographer would be permitted alone on a rooftop pointing a camera down at the president, and the president probably would never be in a convertible ever again.

Ask yourself: Who’ll be first to live up to their promise—O.J. Simpson, finding the "real" 1994 killer of his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ronald Goldman as he promised after his acquittal, or President George W. Bush, producing his promised substitute plan for dealing with global warming after rejecting the Kyoto Treaty?



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