Pat Malone, former Delta Flight Operations leader and aviation legend, was posthumously inducted into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame in Warner Robins, GA, on April 24, for her outstanding and lasting advancements in aviation.
Pat, whose aviation career spanned more than 50 years, was affectionately known at Delta as “Mother Malone.” She joined Delta as part of the Northeast Airlines merger in 1972, and spent more than 30 years teaching pilots and dispatchers instrument flight procedures, Federal Air Traffic Control procedures and operations specifications.
“Pat’s impact went well beyond training,” said Steve Dickson, Delta Senior V.P. Flight Operations. “She gained the nickname Mother Malone because she took a genuine interest in her students.” Countless pilots named her the “crown jewel” of the Northeast/Delta merger. “She could explain in pilot’s terms how to fly safe and stay legal,” said retired Delta Captain Gerald Grieser. “We could call her anytime with questions. She made Delta a safer operation . . . and was respected by the pilot group, by Delta and by the FAA” for her expertise.
When Pat Malone began her career in the early 1940s, pilots flew only when “the weather was good and you could see the ground, ” she recalled. World War II made flying under all types of conditions necessary and someone had to train the pilots to safely do this. Joining the U.S. Navy WAVES, Pat was assigned to train aircraft carrier pilots on instrument flight procedures. After the war, she became an instructor with the U.S. Air Force and then the airlines: first TWA, then Northeast and Delta.
Here Pat instructs a pilot in a Link trainer, an early version of the modern flight simulator, for the Air Force in Eatontown, New Jersey, in 1947.
Pat joins seven other Delta inductees in the Georgia Hall of Fame: Delta founder C.E. Woolman, former Delta President Hollis L. Harris, Capt. Thomas “Pre” Ball, Capt. Basil Victor Hewes, Lt. Col. Christofer B. Smisson, Capt. Connie Bowlin and Capt. Ed Bowlin. She was also inducted into the Women in Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame last year.