It's not unusual for airline pilots to receive notes or drawings from their youngest passengers. But on Sunday, WestJet Airlines Captain Carey Smith Steacy received a sexist note, scrawled on a napkin from an adult male. Steacy responded by posting the note to Facebook, along with her own brilliant reply.
The passenger identified himself as "David from seat 12E" in spite of being too cowardly to meet Captain Steacy in person. I love that the photo of the note was taken with the napkin clipped to the yoke of Steacy's Captain's seat on the Boeing 737 she was flying.
Not PC? Really, David? Oh, the IRONY!
Captain Steacy's reply on Facebook read:
"To David in 12E on my flight #463 from Calgary to Victoria today. It was my pleasure flying you safely to your destination. Thank you for the note you discreetly left me on your seat. I respectfully disagree with your opinion that the 'cockpit,' (we now call it the flight deck as no cocks are required), is no place for a lady. In fact, there are no places that are not for ladies anymore. You made sure to ask the flight attendants before we left if I had enough hours to be the Captain so safety is important to you, too.
I have heard many comments from people throughout my 17-year career as a pilot. Most of them positive. Your note is, without a doubt, the funniest. It was a joke, right? RIGHT?? I thought, not. You were more than welcome to deplane when you heard I was a 'fair lady'.
You have that right. Funny, we all, us humans, have the same rights in this great free country of ours. Now, back to my most important role, being a mother."
David is obviously a sexist jerk with quite an antiquated thought process regarding gender roles. In Proverbs 31, (cited on his note) specifically verses 10-31, it speaks of a woman's role in the household, and how she is to care for her family by providing food and clothing, protecting her children and honoring her husband. Okay, fine. But I'd ask David why he thinks a woman can't do all of those things as an airline pilot! It's certainly an honorable job, and can pay very well, (especially as a Captain) which in turn would provide for a family's needs. I would also argue that in many cases today, women are the captains of their homes.
WestJet responded to the note by saying it has 68 female pilots on staff, including its subsidiary Encore. "We have captains and first officers among our female pilots and always have since we launched in 1996," said WestJet.
Women have been flying planes since the dawn of aviation! Madame Therese Peltier was the first woman to fly a plane - way back in 1908!
Harriet Quimby was America's first aviatrix, earning her pilot's license (license number 37!) on August 1, 1911. Shortly thereafter, she became the first woman in the word to fly a plane at night on September 4th that year.
It was in 1934 that Helen Richey was hired as the first female airline pilot, for Central Airlines - which eventually became part of United Airlines. She flew the Ford Trimotor. Eighty years, David! Women have been flying for airlines for eighty years!
During World War II, women played an enormous role in aviation as most able-bodied younger men were drafted into the Armed Forces. Women stepped in to fill the vacated positions on aircraft assembly lines, spawning the iconic "Rosie the Riveter" image. And not only that, once the planes were assembled, female pilots flew the bombers to the battlefront. This group of pilots was called the Women Air Force Service Pilots, or WASPs. Jacqueline Cochran was the first woman to ferry a bomber across the Atlantic on July 1, 1941. By 1943, women made up 30 percent of the workforce in aviation. Cochran later became the first woman to break the Sound Barrier, in 1953.
WASP pilots, with a B-17 Flying Fortress. Jackie Cochran is third from left.
As you can see, women have done some incredible things in and around planes, and helped advance the field of aviation as a whole.
So, mister "David in 12E," I hope Captain Steacy's note has found its way to you. I also hope that you have learned from this experience that women are equally capable of piloting anything that flies.
WestJet Image: Associated Press
Historical source: womeninhistory.about.com