Dusting crops to flying for hire. Gladys Morrison has done it all, and then some.
Gladys Mae Morrison has been involved in just about every major segment of commercial aviation, including some areas then dominated by men. As managing partner of Davis Flying Service in California, she flew charters for the company’s non-scheduled airline and established the syllabus for its VA-approved flying school. In 1950, she became the first woman licensed to fly crop dusters in the state of California.
Gladys rose rapidly in her profession in the 1960s. She became a partner in Indio Flying Service and Desert Air Oasis. As assistant manager of Beechcraft West’s Flite Center, she was in charge of all flight and ground training. At Fowler Aeronautics she wrote training manuals for all of the advanced FAA ratings, including air transport pilot, and instructed in the company’s flight engineer ground school – the first woman to do so.
Moving to Prescott, Arizona, in 1967, she instructed, flew for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, headed the Yavapai College Aviation Department and produced a FAR Part 135 Operations Manual for Favor & Quail air taxi service. In 1975, Gladys joined North-Aire of Prescott where she set up the company’s FAA-approved school. She also wrote its Part 135 Operations Manual and served as a check pilot for several air taxi companies.
Today she is president of the North-Aire International Accelerated Flight School. Over the years she has received numerous awards and honors for her contributions to flight safety and proficiency. In 1982, the FAA recognized her as National Flight Instructor of the Year. For her significant role in the advancement of America’s air transport and flying training systems, Gladys Mae Morrison is now enshrined with honor in the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame.