SAJ Contributor Seeks Colorado Sky Star Nominations

penny portraitedit.jpg In honor of Women’s History Month, writer, Dr. Penny Rafferty Hamilton, has launched research for a new history book called Colorado Sky Stars: Trailblazing Women in Aviation & Aerospace.

Colorado Sky Stars will document the contributions of women of aviation and aerospace in and from Colorado from the early years to contemporary female leaders in the industry. “We are seeking nominations of outstanding pilots, air controllers, airport managers, aviation mechanics, air hostesses/flight attendants, balloonists, scientists, and women aviation and space leaders to inspire readers,” said Hamilton.

Colorado has a rich aviation heritage. Many important contributions were made by women. Hamilton says that the very first female civilian air traffic controller in the United States worked in the Denver Airway Traffic center in July 1942. Mary Chance VanScyoc helped pilots flying the “Highways of the Colorado Skies,” after only a month of beginning her on-the-job training.

“Did you know Sabrina Jackintell set a World’s Altitude record in February 1979 from the Black Forest Gliderport,” remarked Hamilton. According to Colorado State Soaring Records, Jackintell soared to an altitude of 41, 460 feet in her Astir CS glider. “This incredible flight lasted three hours and eighteen minutes as Sabrina perfectly flew the mountain waves flowing over Pike’s Peak,” said Hamilton.

Many know of the contributions of Captain Elrey Jeppesen for whom Denver International Airport is named. But Hamilton tells us that his wife, Nadine Liscomb Jeppesen, a former United Airlines stewardess, helped build the world famous Jeppesen Company with its incredible “Black Book” Airway Manuals. Beginning in 1941, Ms. Jeppesen managed the store front Jeppesen Flight Chart store on East Colfax Avenue in Denver, while Elrey continued flying passengers for United. “It was the determined Nadine who interviewed and hired cartographers, designed, and wrote promotional materials for the fledgling company,” said Hamilton. “She juggled business and family obligations as company secretary-treasurer until the Times Mirror Corporation bought the Jeppesen Company in 1961.” In 1994, Nadine Jeppesen was awarded the National Aeronautic Association Katharine Wright Award, named for the sister of the famous Wright Brothers because of Katharine’s significant personal and financial support of the Wrights pioneering aviation efforts. Nadine Jeppesen was inducted into the Women in Aviation Pioneer Hall of Fame in 1995.

These are just a few of the female Colorado Sky Stars already identified. Hamilton asks that if you have ideas of historic or current women in aviation and aerospace you would like to see included in this new book, please email soon.