Sunday, July 6, 2014

I Wake Up Screaming

How are you, Key Room friends?

I have another exciting key to show you today and this one’s for all the ladies out there. It comes from a woman who made her name soaring through the sky at high speeds. In the world of female fliers, we all know Amelia Earhart and her solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, but there’s another pioneering female pilot who deserves some recognition and we have her key right here in our collection.

Her name is Mary H. Dickey and in 1947 she earned her Airline Transport Pilot License which made her the first woman in America to hold that title since Laura H. Ingalls held it in 1935, and the only one to have it at the time she donated her key to the Baldpate Inn. The key operates her airplane, a Twin-Engine Cessna N.C. 75210, which Mary affectionately called “I Wake Up Screaming” and is accompanied by a framed picture of her standing with the plane looking giddy and professional. Obtaining an Airline Transport License is no small feat as it’s the highest level aircraft pilot license a person can hold and requires that they have at least 1500 hours of flying experience and pass the Federal Aviation Administration’s ATP practical test. Mary obtained her license after graduating from a commercial pilot school that she started for herself at New Orleans Airport.

Her story demonstrates both her talent and dedication to her craft. She first flew 8 years prior in 1941 when her sister’s boyfriend gave her the controls to his plane on a flight from San Antonio to Houston. At that moment she fell in love with flying and began taking lessons, and within 2 weeks was taking off and landing with ease. After that she was professionally trained at a pilot school in San Antonio, started working for an airline, and later joined the army and navy air forces as a civilian instructor for aspiring navy pilots. After many years working as a flight instructor, she moved to New Orleans to inaugurate the commercial pilot school from which she graduated. In 1947 when she achieved her Airline Transport Pilot License she had over 2300 hours of flight experience and had trained around 200 army and navy pilots.

Mary H. Dickey’s story would be an impressive one coming from anyone, but is even more inspiring considering how female pilots in the 1940s were often underestimated and clearly under represented. It’s a real honor that we’re able to preserve her legacy and her key here in the Key Room where she can continue to inspire all of us to live out our dreams.

So that’s all I have for today. In the mean time I, and the rest of the Baldpate team, look forward to your next visit,

Key Room Museum Curator