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RBC — Colorado Northwestern Community College was visited by its first female graduate of the commercial pilot flight program from April 8, 1969. Eva Searcy visited the Rangely Airport with her mom and dad, both of whom were great mentors and supporters of her decision to change from a four-year degree program in math, science, and biology to CNCC’s two-year career and technical education flight training program. Eva developed an interest in aviation as a young girl, as she was able to hitch rides in helicopters in conjunction with her dad’s employment in the USGS mapping service. It was an unattainable fairy-tale world. In high school, she joined the Civil Air Patrol, where she was again exposed to the world of flying. The turning point was when CAP awarded her a scholarship for a Solo Camp. During that first solo flight she “took a drink of the freedom of flight and was addicted.”
When she announced her intention to pursue her aviation dream, her mom was very supportive (mom had always yearned to fly but could never afford to do so). Dad was also on board, and after considerable research, Eva headed for CNCC in Rangely.
As she was completing her flight training, she placed an ad in a national trade newspaper, Trade-a-Plane. The ad stated, “Young, enthusiastic woman aviator willing to work hard.” She received many replies.
Mom and dad drove her to Phoenix, Ariz., for an interview with a family-owned manufactured home dealer. She was offered a job before graduation and spent 36 years with this company. Her flying became secondary to various other jobs within the company, where she spent the past 15 years as its manager. During her corporate aviation career, she flew various types of piston-powered aircraft, including the twin-engine tail-wheel Beech 18 and logged more than 10,000 hours.
Throughout her career, Eva had wanted to give back the support and mentoring she had received to other young women in aviation and found herself able to do so financially. During her visit to CNCC today, Eva set up the Viola Moore Searcy Aviation Scholarship for Women at CNCC (named for her mentor and supporter, mom) and announced its first three recipients: Andrea Menjura, Kristine Lewis and Christa McDonald.
These scholarships will be presented at the graduation “Wings” ceremony at the Rangely Airport May 9. During her visit Eva shared many great stories and memories of her nine months at Rangely.