Aviation legend visits Maxwell Air Force Base - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Aviation legend visits Maxwell Air Force Base

(Source: WSFA 12 News) (Source: WSFA 12 News)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

She paved the way for women in aviation and mechanics and she's in the Capital City.

Mary Feik, a colonel in the Civil Air Patrol, is visiting more than 120 cadets from across the nation and sharing her story.

The colonel is an aviation living legend. She started out in the field as a teen. At the young age of 18, she was already teaching aviation mechanics for the U.S. Army Air Corps.

During World War II she became a master mechanic and was in charge of flight training. She was a test pilot clocking 9,000 hours.

"I had the opportunity to do just about everything. I flew airplanes that would melt a man if I told them I flew this or that or something else because I was a test pilot," Feik said. "I also had to write all the test training manuals for all these airplanes that were distributed for all the new pilots so that they would understand."

She originally wanted to study engineering in college but wasn't allowed due to the fact she was a woman. She didn't let that slow her down.

For 20 years she worked only with men. She reflects, "I've seen women given the first opportunities really."

She has received an extensive list of honors and awards, including being the first woman to receive the FAA's Charles Taylor Master Mechanic award.

Even with all the fame, she says her biggest accomplishment is being involved in the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program.

"She has a lot of hope for youth, considering she started at such a young age. Rather than just retiring and quitting, she's actually giving back now in even more ways which is outstanding," said Cadet Col. Tiffany Jakowczuk

Her biggest advice is, "aim high and follow your dream."

"You never know unless you try and that's something she is definitely a testament to," says Jakowczuk.

"Never stop pursuing what you want to do in life because she's a living testament to that with all the obstacles she had to face to get to where she is today," Cadet Capt. Josh Atkinson added.

At 90 years old, Feik says her secret is she does what she loves. She still flies her own airplane and even does the maintenance on it. She jokingly said FAA can't stop her because she's one of their master mechanics. She added she does take a one-a-day vitamin.

Aug. 1 is "Col. Mary Feik Day" in Montgomery.

Copyright 2014 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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