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Debbie Gary Callier

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Debbie Gary Callier (b. February 24, 1948)[1] is an American air show pilot.[2] She began flying at age nineteen, and was the first woman to fly in a formation aerobatic team.[3] She also wrote the Bellanca Pilot Proficiency Training Manual.[2]


Callier graduated in 1965 from William McFarland High School in Bordentown Township, New Jersey and attended George Washington University before moving with her father to Saint Thomas.[4]

Gary first took flying lessons in 1966 in New Jersey.[5] Her first solo flight took place in the Virgin Islands, where she had moved with her family.[5] Starting in 1968, she began working as a glider instructor and in 1969, met Jim Holland when she flew a glider at the St. Croix airshow.[5] She learned aerobatics from Holland and joined his airshow.[5] She performed for some time for Holland, then worked for a Canadian aerobatic team.[6][7] She competed against 40 men for her spot on the aerobatics team.[8] After, she joined the Bede Jet Team.[9] She became the first woman to fly full-time in an aerial formation team.[6][5][8] The Star Tribune called Gary "the world's leading woman show pilot" in 1978.[10] She was also filmed for a feature called The Blue Marble in 1978.[11] She has flown a Bede BD-5J and a Pitts S-1A open cockpit biplane doing her stunts.[12][13]

After 1972, she started working as an instructor at the Flabob Airport.[5] When she was not doing airshows, she worked as an instructor.[12] Later, she worked in Alexandria, Minnesota.[7]

In 1978, Gary married Jim Callier, who was the president of the Bellanca Aircraft Corp.[14] In 1994, Gary earned a journalism degree from the University of Houston.[6] She did an internship at the Houston Post, and wrote for Air & Space, a magazine published by the Smithsonian Institution.[6][15] She also took time off from air shows to raise her children.[6]

Gary started flying airshows again around 1998.[6] She encourages young people, especially girls, to think about going into aviation as a career.[16][17]

In 1979, the Supersisters trading card set was produced and distributed; one of the cards featured Gary's name and picture.[18] A photo-lithograph of the card is owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[19]


  1. ^ according to her trading card - Debbie Gary Callier -[1]
  2. ^ a b "Flying Magazine". Flying: 13–. August 1979. ISSN 0015-4806.
  3. ^ "Air Show Takes Flight at RDU". 1998-04-30. Retrieved 2015-06-16.
  4. ^ Debbie Gary; Alumni Hall of Fame Class of 1965, Bordentown Regional High School. Accessed February 14, 2020. "Ms. Gary graduated from William MacFarland High School in 1965. After graduation, she attended George Washington University for two years. She left college when her father asked her to take off a semester in 1967 to go with him to St. Thomas where he was beginning a construction job. Her long career in aviation began during that time."
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Aerobatic Pilot Returning". The Herald. 1977-06-06. p. 11. Retrieved 2017-11-29 – via
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Small Jet, Big Fun/ Female Aviator Loves Performing For The Crowds". 1998-09-11. Retrieved 2015-06-16.
  7. ^ a b "Airborne Artistry to Test Butte Skies". The Montana Standard. 1978-06-18. p. 26. Retrieved 2017-11-29 – via
  8. ^ a b Sowers, Carol (1976-10-09). "Flying Obsession Has Her Making Aerobatic Tailspins". Arizona Republic. p. 44. Retrieved 2017-11-29 – via
  9. ^ Schultz, Rob (1977-08-03). "Debbie Gary One of the Few Women Aerobatic Pilots". The Oshkosh Northwestern. p. 4. Retrieved 2017-11-29 – via
  10. ^ "Up and Down and Around They Go". Star Tribune. 1978-08-24. p. 14. Retrieved 2017-11-29 – via
  11. ^ "The Minneapolis Star in Brief". The Minneapolis Star. 1978-08-24. p. 3. Retrieved 2017-11-29 – via
  12. ^ a b Scott, Vernon (1976-10-04). "Flying Under London Bridge Out, But Debbie Gary's Air Show Still On". Simpson's Leader-Times. p. 11. Retrieved 2017-11-29 – via
  13. ^ Chambers, Thomas (1975-08-02). "Speed is Second Nature to Woman Who Pilots Jet". The Oshkosh Northwestern. p. 8. Retrieved 2017-11-29 – via
  14. ^ Winslow, Carmen (1978-07-04). "Stunt Flier Will Wed in Butte". The Montana Standard. p. 1. Retrieved 2017-11-29 – via
  15. ^ "Flying Magazine". 1 August 1979. Retrieved 22 November 2017 – via Google Books.
  16. ^ "Airfest a Thrill Ride for All-Female Cast of Performers". Star-Gazette. 2005-07-23. p. 5. Retrieved 2017-11-29 – via
  17. ^ Wag, Patty (1 November 2016). "Oshkosh". Plane and Pilot.
  18. ^ Wulf, Steve (2015-03-23). "Supersisters: Original Roster". Retrieved 2015-06-04.
  19. ^ "Supersisters Inc. | Debbie Gary Callier, Supersisters No. 54". The Metropolitan Museum of Art, i.e. The Met Museum. Retrieved 2017-11-29.

External links

This page was last edited on 22 December 2020, at 01:43
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