Gloria Heath, a founding member of Flight Safety Foundation who was instrumental in the earliest efforts to disseminate aviation safety information worldwide, died Saturday at her home in Connecticut. She was 95.
Ms. Heath was a pilot in the Women Airforce Service Pilots, a civilian organization under the direction of the U.S. Army, during World War II, flying B-26 bombers that were used for target practice.
After the war, she was an original employee of Flight Safety Foundation, working with FSF founder Jerome Lederer, who described her efforts as indispensable. She was the project manager of the first formal course in aircraft accident investigation, conducted by the Foundation at Mitchel Air Force Base in New York in 1948.
“Gloria Heath was a true pioneer in aviation safety,” said Foundation President and CEO Jon Beatty. “Her role in the early days of Flight Safety Foundation was crucial in the development of the organization.”
After leaving her position at the Foundation, Ms. Heath remained a member for many years. She also was the director of summer aviation programs at Connecticut College, an assistant director at the Cornell-Guggenheim Aviation Safety Center and a founder of the search and rescue consulting firm SAR-ASSIST. In 2010, she was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for her service in World War II. She was listed by Women in Aviation International as one of the 100 most influential women in aviation, and she was a recipient of the Foundation’s Laura Taber Barbour Air Safety Award, which recognizes notable achievements in aviation safety.
More information on Ms. Heath can be found here.