MCMINNVILLE, Ore. – Sat, Mar. 1, 2008 - In honor of Women’s History month, the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum is recognizing women in aviation with special activities throughout the day. The museum is honored to host a special presentation, activities and informational booths featuring women in aviation. The celebration begins at 10 a.m. with fun crafts and activities and informational booths from community organizations like the Girl Scouts, Women in Aviation and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Festivities will continue with an 2 p.m. presentation by Mary Feik. Throughout her career, Feik has flown over 20 different aircraft including the P-51 Mustang, P-47 Thunderbolt, P-38 Lightning, P-80 Shooting Star, B-17 Flying Fortress and B-29 Superfortress.Mary Feik is a former aviation engineer. She first became interested in aviation at the age of seven when a Barnstormer came through her hometown area in a Curtiss JN-4 biplane. She rode in the aircraft and was enthralled.
Feik overhauled her first automobile engine in her father’s repair shop when she was 13, then turned to aircraft engines and military aircraft at the age of 18, eventually teaching aircraft maintenance to crew chiefs and mechanics for the United States Army Air Forces in 1942. During World War II, she became an expert on many military aircraft and is credited with becoming the first woman engineer in research and development in the Air Technical Service Command’s Engineering Division at Wright Field, Ohio.
At a time when men dominated the cockpits of military aircraft, Feik logged more than 5,000 hours as a B-29 flight engineer, engineering observer, and pilot in fighter, attack, bomber, cargo, and training aircraft. When the Lockheed P-80 entered service, she was issued a brand-new model nicknamed “Mary’s Little Lamb” in her honor.
She also used her expertise to design high-performance and jet fighter pilot transition trainers and aircraft maintenance trainers. The pilot training manuals and technical engineering reports she authored were distributed throughout the armed forces. Feik retired from the National Air and Space Museum’s (NASM) Paul E. Garber Restoration Facility as a Restoration Specialist. She restores antique and classic aircraft.
A recipient of many aerospace honors, in 1994 Feik was inducted into the Women in Aviation Pioneer Hall of Fame. Additionally, she earned the FAA’s Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award in recognition of her many outstanding contributions to aviation safety. Feik was the first woman to ever receive the award, named for the Wright brothers’ mechanic and engineer.
All Women in Aviation activities will be included in general admission prices. For more information, please refer to www.sprucegoose.org or call 503-434-4185.
Source: Evergreen Aviation Museum
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