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Publisher's Summary

Aviatrix is the captivating story of one of the first women pilots to break into the all-male airline flight cockpit. Hired in 1976 at Hughes Airwest, Mary Bush made a herculean effort to overcome the resistance and harassment she faced in such a position, but it was to no avail.

Mary was introduced to flying at an early age. She started flying as a teenager, studying and training long hours until she painstakingly obtained her ratings one by one. Financial hardships hit the family hard, though, and Mary - desperate for both flying experience and money - headed down to the infamous Corrosion Corner in South Florida to be a "freight dog" for fly-by-night operators. However, she was frequently denied work because of her gender. She kept praying, working, and struggling, though, with the hope of one day becoming an airline pilot, a job in which she would have both steady work and steady pay. Then, after her brother was lost at sea in one of the family airplanes, Mary was more determined than ever to become a pilot at an airline, just as her brother had planned to be. So, when she was offered the position at Hughes Airwest, Mary was thrilled. Going out west to fly jets was everything she had dreamed of and worked for. The discrimination and lewd remarks she had often faced in Florida, though, had not even come close to preparing her for the relentless harassment she would encounter as the first woman pilot at an airline. A close-up and enthralling account of Mary's struggles as an aviation pioneer, this book will astound, appall, and inspire you.

©2014 Mary Shipko (P)2015 mary shipko

Critic Reviews

"A unique, engaging memoir balancing personal story with broader social themes." (Kirkus)

What members say

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A wonderful book: perseverance, faith, and flying

I originally was excited about this book because I grew up in a Republic Airlines/Northwest Airlines family and have been a Hughes Airwest fan for life. One of my first airline trips was on a Hughes Airwest 727 to Santa Anna when I was 3 years old. My dad retired from Northwest, and Hughes Airwest (RW) ultimately became a part of NWA. I figured Mary’s book would be a nice insight into Hughes Airwest and maybe Republic Airlines (bought Hughes Airwest in 1981) too. Her flying stories and adventures are wonderful. The surprising part though, is her telling of the horrible treatment, abuse, and harassment she encountered while working at RW; I had no idea things were do despicable for the first women airline pilots. As a professional pilot and father of a daughter, I was very sad to realize the treatment Mary encountered was beyond abuse, but rather torture, and that torture grounded her. I understand how Mary describes flying, and what taking flight means to her. I love how she says ”flying is an art form.” My daughter is only 4, but I am going to keep Mary’s book on my bookshelf for her to read one day. Mary’s message and story is one that all of society should read and understand... especially young ladies!

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4 out of 5

I really enjoyed the book loved it in regards to all facets of flight sorry to hear about sexual harrassment that too made an interesting part of the story I was kind of hoping book with Focus Purity on the flight aspects was not disappointed for the flight ass pics