Several shades of femininity and masculinity are embodied by The Pilot. Throughout the text, there is commentary on traditional femininity. For example, The Pilot hopes that her daughter won’t be a “hair tosser." However, The Pilot’s gender is central to her experience and her processing of it. Her role of wife and mother contradicts her tough “one of the guys” identity. The soft nature of motherhood directly conflicts with the rigidity of being a solider. The Pilot is transformed by the friction and dissonance created as these roles pump up against each other.
TIMELINE OF FEMALE AVIATION
1903 The Wright Brothers' powered flight
1910 First woman to receive pilot license
1911 First U.S. woman to receive pilot license
1927 First woman to obtain aircraft mechanics license
1932 First woman to cross Atlantic Ocean solo
1934 First woman pilot hired for U.S. commercial airline
1942 First women hired as air traffic control specialists
1942 First U.S. women pilots to fly military aircraft
1943 First U.S. women navigators for the military
1953 First woman to break sound barrier
1963 First woman in space
1964 First woman to successfully fly around the world
1973 First woman hired as ATP for modern, jet-equipped scheduled airline
1980 First woman to win the World Aerobatics Championship
1984 First woman walks in space
1993 U.S. Department of Defense opens combat aviation to women
1999 First woman space shuttle commander
AN INTERVIEW WITH COLONEL JEANNIE LEAVITT
She was the first woman to become a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force. Today, she is the commander of the Fourth Fighter Wing out of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina.
MARTIN: So what was that first ride like in an F-16?
LEAVITT: Oh, it was absolutely amazing. I was very fortunate. I flew with some highly experienced instructor pilots who took time to sit down and explain everything to me. So, before we went out to the airplane, while we were flying and when we would come back and debrief, they took the time to explain it all to me. And it made it just absolutely fascinating.