I've been reading the transcripts from the July 17 and 18 1962 "Qualifications for Astronauts" hearings before the special subcommittee on the selection of astronauts that was organized to know if women could become astronauts. In the record (see page 10), the qualifications of each of the Mercury 13 are listed. Rea Allison and Irene Leverton are each stated to be an "executive pilot". What is an executive pilot?

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    $\begingroup$ Absent context, if I were to take a guess, I'd suspect it's about what we'd call today a "corporate pilot" - i.e. flying corporate executives (and others) around in whatever it is they own, be that a King Air, a Learjet, a BBJ, or whatever. It's potentially jet time, but not remotely as demanding flying as military fighters. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented Jul 12, 2021 at 13:54
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, this article does mention Rhea Allison (Rhea Woltman) as "secretary and executive pilot for a small aircraft sales and engineering firm", so it's a valid question. Please refrain to close it without trying to help. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Commented Jul 12, 2021 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for adding the link to the transcript - close vote retracted. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented Jul 12, 2021 at 16:03
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    $\begingroup$ @mins - Pointing out the need to see the term in context, i.e. a link to the document that generated the question, isn't being helpful? The initial version of the question lacked details, I pointed that out, and the question has been improved. How is that being other than helpful??? $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented Jul 12, 2021 at 16:06
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    $\begingroup$ @mins if closing needs to happen, sooner is better than later. if the fix comes after the closing, there is the re-open queue. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 13:54

1 Answer 1


Few texts mention Rhea Allison (Rhea Woltman) as "secretary and executive pilot for a small aircraft sales and engineering firm" (additional copy). Other mention her as a regular commercial "pilot": When she started the astronaut curriculum for Mercury, "Woltman was working as a charter pilot in Houston".

There is nothing particular with executive pilot in the sense of a pilot with particular a rating or function. Online search on this sentence returns nothing except describing a position of a pilot for executives. This is confirmed by Termium Plus, the Canadian Administration translation resource between English and French:

Executive pilot: Pilote chargé du transport du personnel de direction.

which means in English: Pilot in charge of carrying executives, similarly, an executive jet means a corporate jet:

Many businesses use executive jet charters when time and money are at a premium. Private executive jets are available for flights from your local airport to the nearest airport to your destination and are flexible to fit around your business travel plans.

Executive pilot is then synonymous of corporate pilot.


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