First licensed aviatrix trains men for defense (2-10-41)

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (February 11, 1941)

Woman of many achievements has charge of project to make “grease monkeys” out of 5,000 servicemen


Washington, Feb. 10 (AP) –
Phoebe Omlie, the first licensed woman pilot and the first woman to get an airplane mechanic’s license, is making “grease monkeys” out of 5,000 men as part of the defense program.

Phoebe, who has an impressive array of achievements in aviation from racing to teaching, is in charge of a special WPA project for the training of aviation ground servicemen to meet the increased needs of expanding civil and military aviation.

A small, vivacious brunette, the widow of Captain Vernon C. Omlie, noted aviator, she was hard at work today in her new office in the commerce department working out plans for the $1,429,000 project.

Teaching men and women to fly or to locate a squeak in a motor is nothing new to Phoebe. She once inaugurated aviation instruction in schools in the cities of Tennessee, her home state.

It is her job now to outline a course of instruction to train ground crews to service an airplane, take care of a hangar, keep clerical records and do numerous other jobs around an airport.

It has been figured out that for every pilot in the air there are nine groundworkers.