Trish Beckman in the F/A-18
is one of the women described in the bookÂ Trailblazers: The Women
of the Boeing CompanyÂ that we talked about with author Betsy Case in Episode 382.
tells us about testing military and commercial aircraft prior to delivery, the history of women in military aviation, and the role she
and others played that led to the repeal of the combat exclusion laws.
With an extensive aviation background, Trish
doesn't disappoint as she
tells us stories from her
career, including aÂ Kuwait F-18 experience that highlights different cultural views of women, specifically pilots, and how she
and others responded. (Shhh, donâ€™t tell anyoneâ€¦)
Trish enlisted in the US Navy at age 18 and over the course of 28 years she learned to operate and maintain flight simulators, completed flight training as a Naval Flight Officer, graduating from US Naval Test Pilot School, earned a Bachelorâ€™s degree in Aerospace Engineering and a Masterâ€™s degree in Aeronautical Engineering. Â
As a Naval Flight Officer, Trish flew in 67 types of military aircraft, with primary qualifications in the EC-130Q, F/A-18D, E-6A, S-3A/B, and F-15E. Â She was the first American woman to qualify as a crewmember in the F/A-18 (F/A-18D, 1990, Weapon Systems Officer) and the first woman to qualify as a crewmember in the F-15 (F-15E, 1992, Weapons Systems Officer).
In 1991, Trish and other women military aviators helped educate the US Senate on career restrictions caused by the 1948 â€œAviation Combat Exclusionâ€� laws, which directly led to the repeal of those laws.
Since 1993 when President Clinton changed the policy regarding assignment of women to combat missions, women now fly all military aircraft in almost every military mission.
Since June 2013, Trish
supports military aircraft flight test at Boeing Test & Evaluation at Edwards Air Force Base and China Lake, both in California. Â For the previous 12 years, she
flew as a Systems Operator (similar to flight engineer) for production and engineering test flights of the Boeing 737
, and as a Flight Test Navigator for ferry flights and engineering test flights for most Boeing aircraft
(737, 747, 757, 767, 777, 787). Â She
has logged over 6000 flight hours in 73 aircraft types.
Trish is a founding board member of Women in Aviation International (WAI) and a past president of Women Military Aviators, Inc. (WMA). Â She also mentors and supports women aviators worldwide, through such organizations as Canadian Women in Aviation (CWIA), Aviation and Women in Europe (AWE), the Russian Club of Women Aviators (Aviatrissa), Southern African Women in Aviation (SAWIA), and Women Aviators in Africa (WAFRIC).
works to inspire and motivate young people to pursue careers in math, science, and aviation. Â She
is a mentor for the Raisbeck Aviation
High School in Seattle, a workshop presenter for Sally Ride Science Festivals around the country, and a mentor for several aerospace museums nationwide which encourage young people to navigate a path to success in the world of aviation.