Civil Air Patrol Osprey Squadron hosts aviation legend
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 11:50

Col. Mary Feik presented cadets with new ranks

    The Osprey Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) hosted an aviation legend last month at the American Legion Post 38 Hall.
    Col. Mary Feik visited the Osprey Squadron on March 5 to present the Cadet Senior Airman award to several of the squadron’s cadets.
    Each rank structure in the CAP is associated with an aviation pioneer, and Col. Feik represents the Cadet Senior Airman rank.
    Feik, 89, started in aviation in 1942 at the age of 19, although she had been overhauling aircraft engines since she was 13 after being trained by her father.
    She worked in the Captivair program during and after World War II testing and improving aircraft and aircraft systems.
    (Captivair was a flight test/training program where the aircraft was tested on the ground for its capabilities and to make improvements.)
    Feik has over 6,000 hours flying aircraft from P-51 Mustangs to the B-29 Superfortress as well as jet fighters.
    During the ceremony for the Osprey Squadron, Feik presented each cadet with an award on which she had written the inspiration given to her by her father when she first left home: “Aim high and follow your dreams.”
    Feik began the evening by showing the cadets photographs she had taken over her long career in aviation.
    She asked the cadets to identify an aircraft in one of the photos. When cadet Ryan Dorsey called it a B-29 bomber, the colonel complimented him but explained it was actually a B-29 variant called the B-50.
    During her career, Feik also helped in the development of the first jet trainer, the T-33.

This jet trainer started out as a P-80 Shooting Star fighter plane and was modified with an additional cockpit behind the original cockpit.
    This aircraft was designated as the T-33 Shooting Star — or as Feik referred to it, “the T-Bird.”
    The ceremony was followed by refreshments and a casual period during which Feik entertained questions from the Osprey Squadron cadets.
    Among the topics touched upon by Feik included the problems the P-47 Thunderbolt (a WWII fighter plane) had with its tail structure during a dive and the hundreds of flight hours she posted in the B-17 Flying Fortress (a WWII level bomber).
    Still a licensed pilot, Feik flies her Piper Comanche and recently had to take a flight physical, telling the doctor the only medication she takes regularly are multivitamins for people over the age of 50.
    The evening ended with the cadets singing “Happy Birthday” to Feik, who turned 89 the weekend after the event.
    The Osprey Composite Squadron meets every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the American Legion Post #38 at 3300 Dundalk Ave. Prospective cadets between the ages of 12 and 18 are welcome to attend with their parents.