Women who changed aviation history make up the Class of 2015 for the International Women in Aviation Pioneer Hall of Fame.
These women will be honored at Women in Aviation’s 26th Annual International Conference, which will be held March 5-7, at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas. The ceremony will take place at the closing banquet on Saturday, March 7.
“Our induction ceremony is always the highlight of the closing banquet,” says WAI President Dr. Peggy Chabrian. “These women and their accomplishments deserve to be recognized so that our members can thank those who came before them and initiated new undertakings or preserved the role of women’s contributions throughout aviation history.
The 2015 Pioneer Hall of Fame Inductees are:
•Priscilla (Pat) Blum, along with Jay Weinberg, founded Corporate Angel Network (CAN), a 34-year-old not-for-profit organization whose mission is to arrange free travel for cancer patients traveling to and from their treatment centers in the available seats on board corporate jet aircraft. In its first full year, 1982, a dozen corporations flew a total of 23 cancer patient flights. In 2014, 560 corporations signed on as CAN providers and an average of 220 cancer patients were flown each month for an annual total of 2550. The 47,000th cancer patient will be flown in Feb 2015.
•Phoebe Omlie: Once one of the most famous women in America, Phoebe Omlie earned the first Commercial Pilot’s License by a woman and became a successful air racer. During the New Deal, she held executive positions in federal aeronautics. During the 1920s, she bought a JN-4D and learned how to perform stunts with her future husband Vernon. She danced the Charleston on the top wing, hung by her teeth below the airplane, and performed parachute stunts in the Phoebe Fairgrave Flying Circus.
•Deanie and Nancy Parrish deserve recognition as untiring volunteers who have recorded the history of the WASP through books, recordings, museum exhibits and an app, WAI officials note. This mother-daughter team makes sure WASP stay in touch with one another. They are also responsible for initiating the movement to honor the WASP with the Congressional Gold Medal. Many generations of historians, researchers and other women will benefit from their efforts.
The Women in Aviation, International Pioneer Hall of Fame was established in 1992 to honor women who have made significant contributions as record setters, pioneers, or innovators. Special consideration is given to individuals or groups who have helped other women be successful in aviation or opened doors of opportunity for other women. Each year, the organization solicits nominations from throughout the aviation industry for the WAI Pioneer Hall of Fame.
The 2015 Conference celebrates 26 years of WAI Conferences. With the theme “Connect, Engage, Inspire,” the WAI Conference will include professional development seminars, education sessions, tours, workshops, networking events, speakers, and a commercial exhibit area. The conference concludes with WAI’s annual banquet where dozens of scholarships are awarded and the Pioneers are inducted.
Online registration is available at WAI.org/15conference