July 30, 2009

Gillibrand Congratulates Eileen Collins for National Aviation Hall of Fame Induction

Collins Was First Woman To Pilot, Command NASA Shuttle

Washington, D.C. -U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today extended her congratulations to Eileen Collins for her recent induction into the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Collins, a native of Elmira, New York, was the first female pilot and commander of a NASA shuttle. Collins joined the Air Force in 1978 and was recruited to join NASA as one of its earliest female pilots in 1990. Senator Gillibrand submitted the following statement to the Congressional Record:

"I would like to add to the record my most heartfelt congratulations to Eileen Collins for her recent induction into the National Aviation Hall of Fame. As an Elmira, NY native, Eileen is the first female pilot and commander of a NASA shuttle.  She has orbited the Earth 573 times.  As a child, Eileen was inspired to be a pilot by watching the planes over the Elmira-Corning Regional Airport and the Harris Hill glider field.  She joined the Air Force in 1978 and was recruited to join NASA as one of its earliest female pilots in 1990.  The communities of New York's Southern Tier are so proud of Eileen's historic achievements.

"As the first female pilot and shuttle commander, Eileen Collins is an inspiration and true role model to girls and young women nationwide. Her achievements prove that women everywhere can, and should, reach for the stars."