Jean S. West
Jean began her flying career in 1943 and she received her pilots license in 1945. She earned her commercial, instrument and instructors rating in 1945 as well as her multi-engine and glider rating.
This was no easy task for Jean. She was already instructing at the age of eighteen and young girls were not considered pilot material and she didn't get much help from "real pilots," which were other male pilots. She had to prove herself and prove herself she did by flying in the Powder Puff Derby. She was a member of the Central Illinois Chapter of 99's.
In the early 70's and through the 80's, she arranged for and managed the chapter air marking program; air marking countless airports in central Illinois including Springfield, Peoria, Decatur, Champaign, as well as many other airports. She was active in the Civil Air Patrol where she acted as a volunteer instructor. Jean was also Operations Chairperson for the Illinois-Nines Air Derby for almost all the years that the race was held. She belonged to EAA, Antique Airplane Association, The Aero Club of Decatur, as well as the Glider club in Lincoln, Illinois. She is a life member of the Soaring Society of America. Both she and her husband have restored a Taylorcraft. Jean has probably trained five hundred to a thousand men and women to fly.
She was also an excellent mechanic and her knowledge of the components of an aircraft could embarrass some A& P's. Jean was also active as a judge in the inter-collegiate flying tournaments. When she could no longer fly as pilot in command, Jean continued to give biennials to her students--the last being in 2004. Her remarkable aviation career has spanned more than 50 years and her volunteer efforts have helped hundreds to achieve their goals in aviation.