BETH RUGGIERO YORK

AUTHOR AND PHOTOGRAPHER

Cockpit Porn -- A True Story

Aug 15, 2019 by Beth Ruggiero York , in Books
Inside the cockpit January 1990. Kansas City International Airport, Missouri. We just flew in from my domicile -- Kennedy Airport in New York -- on the first leg of the first day of a five-day trip. This was a new crew I was flying with -- reserve duty was the norm during the first months of a pilot's career at Trans World Airlines, so I filled in where they needed me and only flew one trip at a time with each crew.

I was second officer, aka flight engineer, aka third person in the cockpit of a Boeing 727. I was also the only woman in the cockpit, which had not been an issue thus far in my new job as an airline pilot. The pilots had been welcoming. But while we waited on the tarmac in Kansas City for the next flight to board, the captain reached into his flight bag and pulled out a magazine. Not just any magazine, Penthouse magazine.

The captain flipped through the pages slowly, and when he got to the centerfold, he unfolded it reverently into a full display of a buxom blonde clad in nothing but cowboy boots.

"Hey, Pete," he said to the co-pilot, "check out this piece of ass."

The co-pilot looked at the picture voraciously. "Oo-wee!" he said, smacking his lips.

The captain laughed.

Really?? Was this how it was going to be? They sure didn't want a woman in their cockpit, and they might as well have made an announcement over the loudspeaker:

"Hey, y'all, just because there's a broad here in my formerly all-male cockpit, I'm not changing anything. She wants to work in this man's world, then I treat her just like any other man."

And this was just the first leg of the first day of a five-day trip.