After learning to fly in Northampton, she took off for a groundbreaking career in aviation
When Jackee Mosher ’70 broke into the macho world of commercial aviation in 1975, she was Ozark Air Lines’ only female pilot—and would remain so for eight more years. From there she went on to become the first woman captain at TWA and leader of the company’s first all-female flight crew. In all, she racked up some 18,000 flying hours during her 39 years at the helm for four different carriers, bucking sexist headwinds wherever she met them. Retired now in Florida, Mosher finds thrills playing softball, swimming, and flying a drone.
What inspired you to be a pilot?
We had a program at NSFG that was called 5-5-5. For five weeks, you put in five hours over five days at whatever interested you the most. So I worked at the airport in Northampton for my 5-5-5. I was washing airplanes and fueling airplanes, and it was great. I loved it. I was the only female doing that. I knew I wanted to be a pilot or a doctor, and I didn’t study enough to be a doctor!
What did you love the most about NSFG?
Living with other girls. I always went to summer camp and lived with campers, so I was used to it. Having friends and living with them was the best part of boarding school, especially because my parents were so strict. I came to school and had all these friends. It was awesome.
What kind of student were you?
Not a very good one! Studying was hard for me. I believe if any kind of mechanical classes had been available to women I really would have excelled in those. I had my best grades in Mrs. Beekman’s class. I also loved sports and did really well.
What was the fashionof the day?
We had bell-bottoms and hip huggers and all that. I did whatever the crowd did. So then after that I have always had tailored clothing. Tailored all the way. I don’t care what anybody thinks.
What will you miss about being a pilot?
Traveling. I spent most of my time in Paris or Madrid or Barcelona. I’m going to miss Paris the most. I used to bring food back—cheese and butter and olive oil. The food is so fantastic. That’s why the people are so skinny. The food is so pure and they walk everywhere.