December 17, 2014 – A beautiful day at Wright Brothers National Memorial as Mary S. Feik was honored and her portrait was added to the Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine at Wright Brothers National Memorial.
Mary is the first woman aviation engineer. But Mary did not stop there. During WWII, Mary became an expert on many military aircraft and is credited with becoming the first woman engineer in research and development in the Air Technical Service Command’s Engineering Division at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. She flew more than 6,000 hours as pilot in fighter, attack, bomber, cargo and training aircraft. She qualified as a B-29 Flight Engineer and was an engineering analyst in test aircraft for flight and maintenance requirements.
She participated in engineering “mock-up” evaluations for new aircraft prop set for production at the various aircraft manufacturing plants to determine flight and maintenance training requirements. Mary has authored pilot training and maintenance manuals for many of the military aircraft.
Mary retired from the National Air and Space Museum’s (NASM) Paul E. Garber Restoration Facility as a Restoration Specialist. She restores and teaches the restoration of antique and classic aircraft and has participated in the construction of reproduction WWI aircraft. At the Garber Facility she was a member of the restoration teams that restored NASM’s 1910 Wiseman-Cook
aircraft; the WWI Spad XIII fighter; and the 1930 Northrop “Alpha” mail plane.
Mary is a Colonel in the Civil Air Patrol where cadets can earn the “Mar Feik Achievement Award” that Mary signs personally for each cadet. Over 10,000 cadets have received this award.
In addition to the Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine, Mary has received numerous awards, including being the first woman to receive the Federal Aviation Administration’s Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award in recognition of her many outstanding contributions to aviation safety. And Mary was inducted into the Women in Aviation Pioneer Hall of Fame, and the Katharine Wright Memorial Trophy that is given to a woman who has contributed to the success of others, or made a personal contribution to the advancement of the art, sport and science of aviation and space flight over an extended period of time.
Mary was active in the Civil Air Patrol, traveling over 30,000 miles per year to various activities and events. She passed away in 2016.