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Her World

Women int he Cockpit Inspire Others to Make THeir Dreams Take Flight

September 02, 2001|SUSAN SPANO | TIMES TRAVEL WRITER

Still, women made up only 11% of Embry-Riddle's 2000 class in aeronautical science. The reason young women aren't flocking to the field may have to do with a pilot's travel schedule, which can make relationships and child-rearing difficult. On the other hand, Barlow of United just had her first baby and intends to return to work in October (after several weeks of refresher training required for pilots who have been away from the cockpit more than 90 days).

Her husband, Brad, a United pilot, will take care of the baby when she's working, if they can get their schedules to mesh. Barlow, who has seniority as a first officer, plans to delay working for a captain promotion because she would have to start over at the bottom of the seniority ladder, working weekends and being constantly on call. She's clear about her priorities, even if it means a slowdown in her career. "I'm starting a family now," she says.

Pfister, now an 80-year-old grandmother, got edged out of commercial piloting when the war was over and military pilots came home and started claiming the most attractive aviation jobs. She still wanted to travel, though, so from 1948 to 1952 she worked as a flight attendant for Pan Am, where she got lots of attention as the only stewardess around who could fly the plane in a pinch. Although she liked being a flight attendant, she says now, "If I were that age today, I'd be a pilot."

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