Question to Mark Baker about "Our saving grace"

9 Replies

Question to Mark Baker about "Our saving grace"

Posted by Gary Moore on Nov 17, 2018 7:38 pm

In the President's Position monthly editorial, "Our saving grace", in the December 2018 issue of AOPA Pilot, President Baker begins with a list of the 'celebrated aviators' he has been "privileged to meet" in his career.  Many of the regulars make his list - John Glenn and Bob Hoover - but he adds in a few less familiar names like Ron Alexander.  He goes on to discuss how these 'gracious and graceful people" stand out in aviation and serve to inspire pilots everywhere.

What I found most shocking in reading President Baker's editorial is that in his privileged career - he has apparently never met a woman or a person of color who was an aviator or worthy of inspiration.  In fact, it would seem that only old white guys make his list.  And truthfully, I find this hard to believe.  Has he never met Patty Wagstaff?  Has he never met one of the Tuskegee Airman?  Or one of the many pilots that make up NASA's diverse group of astronauts?  Has he never come across a single woman pilot or a pilot of color?  I bet he has!  So - I have to ask President Baker - are only white male pilots "gracious and graceful"?

If you truly want to "...take the extra step to show people that there's a place for them in our flying community", then perhaps your community should be larger than people who look like you.

Re: Question to Mark Baker about "Our saving grace"

Posted by Ronald Levy on Nov 18, 2018 8:48 am

While I believe you make a good point, I wouldn't list Patty Wagstaff as an "inspiration" -- not after her actions at Air Venture a few years ago.  I can think of a lot of other inspiring women in aviation, like Jackie Cochrane, Eileen Collins, and Barbara Allen Rainey (whom I did meet in flight training in 1973), whose lives outside the cockpit were more exemplary.

Re: Question to Mark Baker about "Our saving grace"

Posted by Richard Campbell on Nov 19, 2018 10:50 am

I would certainly include Charlie Bolden, a squadron mate and one of the best sticks I ever flew with.  Overcoming racial adversities, he was one of the first blacks to graduate the U.S. Naval Academy, Marine aviator, later shuttle astronaut, made Brigadier General, and finally Director of NASA.  A finer gentleman you will never meet.

Re: Question to Mark Baker about "Our saving grace"

Posted by Robert Piper on Nov 19, 2018 5:17 pm

What did Patty do at Airventure?
 

Re: Question to Mark Baker about "Our saving grace"

Posted by Malcolm Dickinson on Nov 19, 2018 9:42 pm

I think the original poster is referring to this drunk-driving incident in 2008.
https://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/news/WagstaffSorryForOshkoshIncident_199442-1.html

I had not heard of it until now and had to do some googling to find it.

Re: Question to Mark Baker about "Our saving grace"

Posted by Gary Moore on Nov 23, 2018 9:26 am

I was hoping someone from AOPA might actually weigh in!

Re: Question to Mark Baker about "Our saving grace"

Posted by Philip Johnson on Nov 26, 2018 11:07 am

That's what I been wondering.  She seems like an angel every time I've been around her.

Re: Question to Mark Baker about "Our saving grace"

Posted by Daria Knupp on Nov 27, 2018 7:06 pm

Gary, 

Thanks for your post, and diversity and inclusiveness are central to our work at AOPA. While both women and minorities are underrepresented in aviation, with the pilot shortage there are growing opportunities for more people to find exciting and fulfilling careers in aviation. AOPA is helping to make that happen through a number of our programs. One that is moving the needle is our High School Aviation Initiative which now has around 2,000 students utilizing AOPA’s aviation curriculum. While only around 6% of pilots are women, 25% of the high school students learning under AOPA’s curriculum are women.  

If you’d like to learn more about AOPA’s curriculum, how you can help get it into a school near you, or what AOPA is doing to get more diverse people involved in aviation, we’d be happy to arrange a time to talk.

Re: Question to Mark Baker about "Our saving grace"

Posted by Ronald Levy on Nov 28, 2018 8:22 am

And if you really want to ask Mark about this, email mark@aopa.org.

Re: Question to Mark Baker about "Our saving grace"

Posted by Gary Moore on Dec 19, 2018 12:24 pm

Thanks, Daria - I appreciate the response.