Fifty-year mark of Emanuel County’s first female pilot
by Halei Lamb | May 30, 2018 10:52 am
by WHITLEY CLIFTON
On May 30, 1968, exactly 50 years ago, Emily R. Mason received her pilot license, making her the first female pilot of Swainsboro. According to Mason, her first solo trip was a flight to Statesboro from Swainsboro in a 4-plane system with pilot Steve Purvis. When asked about her first experience, she replied, “I think he was trying to scare me. We were doing all kinds of turns. But, it didn’t scare me.”
On the subject of why she pursued her pilot license, Mason gave all credit to her husband. “He wanted me to pursue it, and the kids as well,” explained Mason. Her husband also received his license and performed a solo.
Though it has been 50 years, Mason still remembers one of her scariest flights. “Owen Bellamy was flying the plane in Portland, Missouri, when the plane gave out of gas,” she began. “All you could see was trees, but he found a clear patch to land in.” Due to there being no nearby gas stations for planes, the crew used car gasoline. “He got us out of there. It was a scary trip,” she ended.
Now 87-years-old, Mason’s pilot license are expired and she passes the keys and legacy to Paula Cadle.