First Woman Pilot of the Caterpillar Club
First Woman Airport Certification Safety Specialist at FAA
Elizabeth Matarese is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airport Certification Safety Specialist/Inspector in the Office of Airports. She is the liaison for three FAA regions, with oversight of airports with air carrier operations. She conducts airport safety studies and data analyses, is on a “Go-Team” for accident investigation, and writes regulations and other documents pertaining to airport operations. Elizabeth was the first woman airport certification safety specialist at FAA and is the only woman to hold both specialist/inspector credentials and the Instrument Instructor Flight Certificate.
Elizabeth’s career started officially in 1981, where, as the aviation specialist for the Maryland State Aviation Administration, she expanded Maryland’s aviation education efforts by developing an innovative model program “Careers in Aviation and Space.” She conducted seminars and workshops for students and teachers, eventually reaching more than 4,000 students.
Her courses focused on air traffic operations, flight physiology, aerodynamics, weather, spatial relations, and aircraft systems. She became the first woman to serve as the state’s pilot and, following that, the Director of General Aviation, a position responsible for the financial and technical assistance to Maryland’s airports. She has participated in the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) survival factors group, where her ability to explain airport certification requirements to investigators provided valuable assistance to them in their investigative work.
Elizabeth has been active with the National Congress on Aviation and Space Education (NCASE), where, with her multi-disciplinary background, she presents teacher workshops designed to stimulate and motivate students towards math and science involvement.