One simple question in high school changed a Boeing test pilot's life

Ruth Morlas soared to her dream in the skies and landed on this year’s ecoDemonstrator program by not being afraid to try.

August 06, 2019 in Our People

Ruth Morlas was interested in flying while attending high school, but didn’t think she’d be able get the proper training and experience to realize her dream. A simple question from a guidance counselor changed her life.

“I thought you had to be in the military,” said Morlas, a project pilot on the 2019 ecoDemonstrator program. “I had this picture in my mind and I didn’t fit that picture. The best thing he said to me was: ‘Why don’t you just become a pilot?’ ”

Morlas, who along with pilot-in-command Mike Bryan flew the ecoDemonstrator 777 during the Boeing Seafair Air Show in Seattle on Sunday, took the counselor’s point to heart.

After earning an aerospace engineering degree at the University of Virginia, Morlas learned how to fly at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She also joined Boeing, working as a reliability and design engineer on the V-22 Osprey and Chinook programs before joining the 787 program.

By continuing to work part-time as a flight instructor, Morlas acquired enough experience to merge her technical and flying skills and become a Boeing production test pilot. That led to this year’s assignment as an ecoDemonstrator project pilot.

“Don’t be afraid to try,” Morlas advised younger people. “It may or may not lead to what you want to do but the effort is not a waste. You’re still learning something.”

The ecoDemonstrator program accelerates innovation by taking promising technologies out of the lab and into the skies for flight testing to address real-world challenges for airlines, passengers and the environment. This year’s program will evaluate 50 projects — from air traffic management technologies that can enhance safety and operational efficiency to smart galleys and lavatories that may be part of future cabins.

Hear more from Ruth Morlas about the ecoDemonstrator program and following your life dreams in this video.

By Ed Muir & Paul McElroy

Ruth Morlas, one of the pilots who flew the ecoDemonstrator 777 during the Boeing Seafair Air Show, says she is proud to work on a program that accelerates innovation to make the world a better place.

(Boeing Flight Test photo)