Award Honors Long Careers


Mary S. Feik and Ann Wood-Kelly are this year’s recipients of the National Aeronautic Association’s Marjorie Stinson Award for Achievement. The award is handed out annually to women who have made an “enduring contribution, a meritorious flight, or a singular technical development” in aviation-related endeavors. Bud Orr, chairman of the Stinson Award selection committee, said both recipients fill the bill admirably. “These ladies helped blaze the trail for others to follow,” he said. Long before the term “non-traditional occupation” was coined, Feik and Wood-Kelly were hard at work in the man’s world of aviation. Feik learned mechanics from her father and was rebuilding car engines at age 13. By the time she was 18 she was teaching aviation mechanics in the Army Air Corps. She became the Air Force’s first female research engineer, designed and built a P-51-based simulator and flew 5,000 hours as a pilot, flight engineer and engineering observer. In civilian life, she stayed active in aviation as a teacher and aircraft restorer, and she still flies and maintains a Piper Pacer and Comanche. Wood-Kelly delivered 900 aircraft as a ferry pilot during WWII. After the war she went to work first for Northeast Airlines as public relations director and then to Pan Am as a senior executive. She ended her career with Air New England. She’s an National Aeronautic Association board member and still flies a Piper Arrow.