Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Operation Celestial Flight: Honoring the 38 WASP

Operation Celestial Flight
38 women died as WASP from 1943 to 1944, serving their country, but there are no military markers on their graves.

Chaplain, Captain J. Clemens, has initiated action to correct this 65-year old oversight. At his own expenses, he is having personalized bronze flag holders cast, family members and local veteran organizations contacted, and memorial services held or scheduled.

The chaplain himself is based in Afghanistan. Five former WASP have stepped forward to help him honor their fallen comrades.

Yuu can help! Check out the link above.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ladies! Want to learn to fly? Don't have the money

Watch this video from Women in Aviation International - they award scholarships for women who want to fly:



What do women love about flying? Interviews.


What do you have to do to become a pilot?


5 things you need to become a pilot

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Spitfire Women of WWII, Flying Higher

I bought myself some Christmas presents from Amazon.com - in addition to new books, they also sell used books, and so I just picked up Spitfire Women of World War II, whcih tells the story of the ATS - men and women who ferried all kinds of planes around England in WWII - the equivalent of the WASP although they don't seem to have faced the same kinds of descrimination that the WASP did. (WASP got paid 2/3rds of what male transport pilots got paid, apparently, the women of the ATS were paid the same as the men.)

Anyway, the title of the books says it all - they flew Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancasters - they flew unarmed, without radios or instruments, at the mercy of the weather and long-range enemy aircraft. Giles Whittell, 2007.

Flying Higher: The Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II by Wanda Langley, copyright 2002. Sadly, it's a de-accessioned library book, which means that some library in Jacksonville, Florida, decided they wanted to get rid of it...

Oh, well, I'll be sharing info from it at my webzine, Winged Victory, and of course inputting their names into the Women Aviators Wiki - which is now up over 576 entries.

I've been inputting a handful of Powder Puff Derby pilots names every day - I'd be willing to wager that at least half if not more of the women who flew in these Derbies in the 30 years of its existence (1947-1977) were former WASP.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Melancholy discovery

I've been busy inputting the names in The Powder Puff Derby commemorative annual. There's a name label on the inner front page - Betty Wharton.

I thought the name sounded familiar when I first glanced at it...but I didn't think much of it.

Today of course I realize, Betty Wharton participated in the Powder Puff Derby, from 1969 to 1971, and she would have been in the 1977 one, which was postponed.

So I've got a book which actually belonged to an air racer. I am so jazzed!

And sad, of course, because obviously she wouldn't have given this book up. It must have come from her estate.

It's a great book, I'm really enjoying it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Powder Puff Derby, 1947-1977

The first Powder Puff Derby was held in 1929. It did not resume until after World War II, in 1947.

Thanks to Ebay, I've just acquired Powder Puff Derby: The Record (1947-1977). Edited by Kay Brick. AWTAR, Inc. 1985

Tells the story of the Derbies in 80 oversize pages. Lots of photos of the participants, in such dated hairstyles and clothing! Still they look a lot better than the grunge style of today's teens, I gotta tell ya.

Anyway, it's been fun to read through, and interesting. One of the reasons why the Derby stopped was that it was an all-women's race and a couple of guys sued for descrimination, wanting to be allowed to race also. Tit for tat, I suppose - this was when Title IX was trying to get passed. Anyway, defending such a lawsuit cost money, also there were changed in laws limiting locations they could fly over (getting worse and worse every day, by the way.)

I'm inputting the names of all the participants at the Women Aviators Wiki.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Worrals of the WAAF


I listen to BBC Digital Radio 7, which shares radio programs both new and old (but mostly old) over and over again. And although I'm much less of an anglophile than I used to be, I had heard of Biggles before - a fictional British character, a young pilot who goes out and has aventures around the world. (They air a dramatized version of a Biggles story.)

The same author also wrote a series of books featuring a woman pilot, named Worrals. This during World War II, when women pilots were part of the Air Transfer Auxiliary in England, ferrying all sorts of planes around the country - including Spitfires and Hurricanes -- and, unlike their counterparts in the USA, were actually paid the same amount for their services as men were. (In the States, the WASP made 70% of the pay of the men performing similar duties.)

THere were 11 books in the series, five of them appearing after the end of the war. Unfortunately, it doesn't look as if any of these books have been released as paperbacks - I'd love to read them but not for $50 per book, which is the best price I could find...

The author, William Earl Johns (5 February 1893 - 21 June 1968) was an English pilot and writer of adventure stories, usually written under the name Captain W. E. Johns. A prolific writer, he wrote 98 Biggles books, 11 Worrals books, and dozens more featuring other characters.


http://www.wejohns.com/
http://www.wejohns.com/Worrals/

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Subliminal messages in dolls?

Was just driving along today and heard a bit of the Tammy Bruce show... (I like her theme music - the Avengers, but don't really care for her delivery, still less her voice!) and heard the controversy about some doll from Mattel/Fisher Price that says "Islam is the light."

http://www.boycottwatch.org/misc/mattel.htm

It's called the Little Mommy Cuddle & Coo Doll, and I gotta tell you - that alone is what I find offensive. Don't give a 6 year old girl a doll to make her want to have a baby when she's only 6, give her a teddy bear or a lion or a tiger.

Anyway, I listened to the audio on the above website, and it sounds like the baby is just making "cooing" sounds, and not saying, "Islam is the light."

You can also hear it on a newsclip at Youtube, where it is MUCH clearer, which makes me wonder if the sound on the YouTube was altered, because it's not that clear in the audio on the website...



On the other hand, I sure dont' want little girls sublimally indoctrinated into the Muslim religion (or any other one, for that matter). I'm an atheist myself, but I just can't see how any woman could accept a religion where she is thought of as less than dirt. Has to hide her face, cover her *entire* body for "modesty" and has to stay with women at all times, and if there's even the *suspicion* that she has talked to a man who is not a member of her own family, she can be killed and that's perfectly fine, because it's a matter of "family honor."

Christianity much better but still with flaws - fundamentalist Christians don't seem to have that high an opinion of women, either...but they ain't as bad as Muslims. Then of course right here in the US we've got polygamist sects, where women actually accept being one of several wives to the same guy, with each one giving birth to five or six kids because of course that's all she's on earth for.... that's a belief that I just don't understand...and yet there are women who voluntarily subject themselves to that kind of life.

For myself, I grew up indoctrinated on The Avengers - John Steed and Emma Peel, equal partners in business and life - that's the way women and men should treat each other...

New pages added to You Fly, Girl

It's been a while since I've updated my webzine, You Fly Girl (aka Winged Victory: Women in Aviation), but I'll be doing so throughout the month of November and hopefuly along into the new year.

Anyway, two new pages:

http://thethunderchild.com/YouFlyGirl/BookReviews/WomenAviatorsWiki.html: Just commenting on the Women Aviators Wiki and urging everyone to contribute to it.

http://thethunderchild.com/YouFlyGirl/BookReviews/GiftsGirlsWomen.html: My list of gifts and equpment - for girls and women.

Friday, December 12, 2008

WASP Betty Jane Williams has made final flight

Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/valley/la-me-williams11-2008dec11,0,6691709.story

Betty Jane Williams earned her pilot's license six months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. In January 1944 she joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots. The women flew 78 types of military aircraft. But they had to wait until 1977 to be eligible for veterans benefits.
By Valerie J. Nelson


10:34 PM PST, December 10, 2008
Betty Jane Williams, who joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots, an elite group that flew noncombat missions during World War II, and served as a test pilot in Texas, has died. She was 89.


Williams, of Woodland Hills, died Monday at Providence Tarzana Medical Center of complications related to a stroke, her family said.


The war effort "needed everybody," Williams, a retired lieutenant colonel, told The Times in 1996. "An airplane doesn't respond to sex. It only responds to skill, and I was bitten by the aviation bug."


Six months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Williams earned her pilot's license in a civilian training program. With the advent of the war, the government grounded general aviation flying on both coasts, and she became a flight attendant with a Canadian airline, Williams later recalled.


When the airlines established instrument flight-training schools, Williams got pilot training at the University of Vermont, then taught Navy and civilian pilots instrument flight techniques.


In January 1944, she returned to the cockpit with the Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPs, and flew "wrecked planes that had been repaired to make sure they were airworthy," Williams told The Times in January.


About 25,000 women applied for the program, but only 1,830 were accepted. She was one of 1,074 women who successfully completed the flight training in Sweetwater, Texas, as part of the WASP program, established during the war to cope with the domestic shortage of military pilots.


At first, the women were restricted to flying in daylight in small aircraft but gradually took on more dangerous roles.


"When you're a pioneer," Williams said in 1996 in The Times, "You don't want to be called a sissy."


Born in 1919 in rural Kingston, Penn., Williams was the middle of three children and grew up wanting to fly.


"Girls just didn't do those kinds of things," Williams said in 1997 in the Los Angeles Daily News. "But the 1940s had arrived, and so had war. That changed everything."


As a WASP pilot, she was stationed at what is now Randolph Air Force Base near San Antonio. The women wore uniforms and piloted 78 types of military aircraft -- yet when the program disbanded in December 1944 they were denied military benefits and treated as civilians.


"We just thought we did an extraordinary job," Williams told The Times in 1993. "But to be booted out . . . it was a terrible injustice."


In 1977, the women were recognized for completing military service and allowed to apply for veterans benefits.


After the war, Williams became a commercial pilot, flight instructor and head of instrument ground school for New York airports in the late 1940s.


She also produced and hosted an early TV program in 1946 about aviation that aired on CBS and NBC.


During the Korean War, she served in the Air Force as a writer-producer for a video production squadron.


In California, she worked for North American Aviation and spent 20 years at Lockheed Aircraft as a technical writer and in-house filmmaker.


A founding organizer of the postwar WASP national organization, Williams served in several leadership roles and remained active in the group.


In January, she helped launch a planned aviation and aerospace library at James Monroe High School in North Hills by donating hundreds of her flight-related books, photographs and paintings to the campus.


Services were being planned.


Nelson is a Times staff writer.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Re-enact WASP or other women's service organizations

Just found a site called Blitzkrieg Baby, which provides information for women re-enactors interested in World War II.

The service organizations during WWII

WASP - Women Auxiliary Service Pilots
WAFS - Women Auxiliary Ferry Service
WAAC/WAC - Women's Army Auxiliary Corps/ Women's Army Corps
ANC - Army Nurse Corps
NNC - Navy Nurse Corps
WAVES - Women's Reserve of the US Naval Reserve (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service)
USMCWR - United States Marine Corps Women's Reserve
SPARS - Women's Reserve of the Coast Guard (Semper Paratus and its English translation Always Ready)
PHS - Public Health Service
ARC - American Red Cross

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The WASP tell their stories

Some more videos shared by Wings Across America at YouTube.

WASP Kaddy Landry Steele and her story about scattering ashes from a Piper Cub.


Speech by Nancy Parrish (daugher of WASP Deanie Parrish) to the Girl Scouts "Women of Distinction" awards luncheon. West Texas Girl Scout Council, 2005


WASP rap song. Written by WASP Deanie Parrish, arranged and performed by Nancy Parrish. The story of the American women pilots of WWII--told in RAP! Copyright Deanie Parrish.

Video of the Opening of the Fly Girls exhibit

provided by Wings Across America at YouTube:

Opening of Fly Girls, WWII at the WIMSA Memorial, 11/14/08



Pentagon channel reports on the exhibit:


WASP Sandy Thompson remembers her first days flying the B-26. Shot in 1996 at Lone Star Flight Museum

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Jessica Cox, armless aviator

Just saw the news today about Jessica Cox, a 25-year old woman without arms who just got her pilot's license.

I input her into the Women Aviator wiki toot sweet!

http://www.womenaviators.org/wiki/index.php?title=Jessica_Cox

It's kind of sad. I sit here, on a daily basis, working on my computer, with the TV on next to me, on channels like Spike TV, where all these beautiful babes seem to want to do is get drunk, have sex, find a man to take care of them and get them drunk and have sex with them.

And meanwhile there's women like Jessica Cox, who want to do something with their lives, have goals to fly high and be strong, and overcome tremendous odds to do so.

You go, girl!

Wings of their Own review complete

I finished the review of Wings of Their Own, a 2004 documentary which interviewed over 200 women pilots, and you can find it here:

http://thethunderchild.com/YouFlyGirl/WingsoftheirOwnDoc/WingsDocumentary.html

Apart from the lack of captions for each person when they were talking, this is quite an inspiring doc and I encourage everyone to check it out. The producers interviewed a wide cross-section of pilots, from students to pros, talked to a few WASP and Wally Funk of the Mercury 13, and so on.

Recommended.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Time Keeps on Slippin' Into the Future...

I've been having a ton of fun inputting data into the Women Aviators Wiki and a lot of the names have been culled from the Wings of their Own documentary.

I'm about inputted out for a while, though, so now it's time to get back to work on what I should be working on, namely my own stuff for my various webzines, The Thunder Child Science Fiction webzine and Winged Victory: Women in Aviation.

To that end, I'll get started today and writing the formal review of the Wings of their Own doc, which I'll be publishing at Winged Victory. It's actually quite a good doc, and one I recommend to everyone (it'd make a nice Christmas present ; ) ) with that one glaring flaw which is the fact that most of the women aren't identified while they're speaking.

However, if you go to their website, there is a cute picture of a little girl in a monoplane holding a bunch of roses (I'm assuming the image comes from a vintage postcard), and, if you click on that image, you're taken to a list of each woman on the doc, and their photos, in order of their appearance on the doc.

This is an excellent and very much needed resource, and it is HIDDEN. IF you dont' read the text above the image, which says,
To learn more about
the Pilots in this film,
and Women in Aviation,
CLICK ON THIS PICTURE

you'd never know that info was there. And yes, that's four lines of text, but it doesn't stand out in such a way that the casual observer is going to see it!!!!

Just makes me want to spin their propellers! (I'm trying to come up with aviation-centric exclamations.)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Vi Cowden

Here's a video of WASP Vi Cowden explaining what it was like to fly during WWII.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Nancy Welz Aldrich

Nancy Aldrich was 31 years old, divorced and had 2 children. She started taking flying lessons, and after a couple of years became a pilot for United Airlines.

http://www.captaingramma.com/index.html

She's written a book, called Captain Gramma, which you can order at the link above.

See and hear how she did it.

[There's supposed to be a video in the empty space below... for some reason it's not showing up on my computer!]



I've also added her to the Women Aviators Wiki:
http://www.womenaviators.org/wiki/index.php?title=Nancy_Aldrich

If you are a pilot or know a woman pilot, please enter your data at the wiki! If you are hesitant because of a "fear of programming" don't be - it's all English language. Just create a page and type. I (or other contributors knowledgable in wikification) will go in afterwards and format it properly - you don't need to concern yourself with that if you dont' want to.

How Not to Make A Documentary.

Or Arrrrrggggghhhhhhhhhh!

I received a documentary to review, a couple of days ago, Wings of their Own, produced by Mary Scott and Abby Dress.

And they interviewed about 100 women pilots, and each of these women has a few snippets throughout the doc of how they got interested in flying, why they fly, etc. etc. A few WASP were interviewed, etc.

But, guesss what. You don't know who any of these women are!!! Not one woman is identified while she's speaking, as you'd expect.

So, as a "take charge" kind of woman, I just have to throw up my hands at this. Give me the master for this doc and let me fix it up!

Each of these women has something interesting and inspiring to say, and yet we don't know who they are!

When they show photos of old timers - like Louise Thaden, or of race winners, they identify those pilots with captions, so I know they had the ability to put captions on each person, and yet they didn't. SO frustrating.

One of the "extras" on the DVD is a photo gallery of each person who participated, and their name is given there, but I don't have the kind of memory that can look at that gallery and then put names to faces when I watch the doc.

The names of the pilots who spoke for the doc (alphebetical list below):

Doris Abbate
Gabrielle Adelman
Karen Agee
Meghan Albittain
Nancy Welz Aldrich
Dottie Anderson
Gloria Apple
Sunny Atkins
Suzanne Azar

Cheryl Baker (archival audio)
Elloise Beatty
Capt. Jenny Beatty
Joy Parker Blackwood
Lorrie Blech
Judith Bolkema-Tokar
Janet Harmon Bragg
Caroline Bryan
Chandra Sawant Budhabbhatti (India)
Susan Livingston Barre
Capt. Beverley Bass
Jenny Beatty
Trish Beckman
Linda Berlin
Janet Harmon Bragg
Galina Brok-Beltsova
Jacque Boyd

Carol Cary-Hopson
Ashley Cavert
Julie Clark
Pat Collins
Linda Cain
Marie Carastro
Susan Carastro
Linda Fritsche Castner
Jackie Cochran (archival footage)
Bessie Coleman (archival photos)
Eileen Collins (Colonel, astronaut)
Claudette Colwell
Vi Cowden
Donna Crane-Bailey
Mary Cresson

Katrina Derricote
Bobbi Doorenbos
Billie Downing
Peggy Doyle
Jennifer Drake, Lt, USN Fighter pilot
Linda Mae Draper
Martha Dunbar


Amelia Earhart (archival footage)

Charlene C. Falkenberg
Lois Feigenbaum
Phyllis Felker
Misti Flaspohler
Irene Flewellen (archival footage)
Cornelia Fort[e] (archival photo)
Carol Foy
Allie Franke
Melanie Frey-Eppard
Leah Fritsche
Carol Froehling
Marcia B. Fuller
Wally Funk

Barbara Garwood
Emily Metz Gile
Michelle Glisan
Traude Gomez (German)
Barbara Goodwin
Marjorie Gray
Amanda Gruden
Michelle Gutierrez
Susie Grundler

Jeanette Hackler
Col. Kelly Hamilton, USAF
Korina Harris
Mardell Haskins
Bee Falk Haydu
Tookie Hensley
Col. Allison Hickey, USAF
Joyce Hilchie
Lynn Holland
Anne Honer
Michelle Hovey
Betty Huck
Ernesteen Hunt
Vicky Hunt

Gretchen Jahn
Marion Jayne
Christine A. Jean-Charles
Mary Goodrich Jenson
Gene Nora Jessen (archival footage)
Bonnie Johnson
Pat Johnson
Evelyn Johnson
Jerry Anne Jurenka

Patricia Jayne Keefer
Mary Keller
Janis Keown-Blackburn
Joan Kerwin
Alberta Pashkvan Kinney
Capt Nancy Kovaes
Evelyn Kropp

Katherine Landdeck
Laura Lattanzio
Nelda Lee
Captain Mary Lee
Carol Levine
Lilya Litvyak
Ruth Logan
Judy Logue
Barbara Erickson London
Francesca Los
Nancy Love (archival footage)
Alice Lovejoy (archival photo)
Esther Lowry

Ruth Maestre
Kristen Mansel
Capt Susan Maule
Martha Miller
Nancy A. Miller
Heidi Moore
Nanette Malher
Jody McCarrell
Erin McCoy
Rosemarie McRae
Kathy McDonald
Claudia McKnight, Lt. Commander, USCG
Madeleine Monaco
Linda Meese
Patricia Minard
Donna Moore

Carolyn Van Newkirk
Erin Nolan

Beth Oliver
Candie Oldham
Phoebe Omlie (archival footage)
A. Lee Orr

Agata Pares
Mary Patterson
Barbara Harris Para
Sofia Payton
Carolyn Pilaar
Gaynor Pilkington
Pat Noyes Prentiss
Debra Price

Terry Queijo

Mikaelia Ramanan
Elena Ray
Hilda Ray
Capt Terry London Rinehart
Margaret Ringenberg
Elaine Roehrig
Mabel Rawlinson (archival footage)
Margie Richison
Stephanie Roberts
Elaine Roderic
Holly Lee Roe
Barbara Rohde
Kathleen Roy

Marina Saettone
Pam Saylor (Phillipines)
Linda Scully
Mohini Shroff
Linda Schumm
Merav Schwartz
Tamra Sheffman
Anne Shields
Ruby Wine Sheldon
Vicki Lynn Sherman
Kristin Shoemaker
Dora Davis Skinner (archival footage)
Christine Sleeper
Carolyn Smith
Jill Smith
Coralie Ann Stamp
Katherine Stinson (archival footage)
Elinor Smith (Sullivan)
Linda Soliars
Joan Steinberger
Anne Sultan, Esq.
Deborah Sutor
Nancy Swanner
Helen Swallow
Eryn Swanson

Wei-en Tan
Ashley Tharp
Bea St. Claire Thurston
Bonnie Tiburzi Caputo, Captain
Jean K. Tinsley
Gertrude Tompkins-Silver (archive photo)
Bobbi Trout (archival footage)

Polly Vacher
Lt Colonel Terry VandenDolder

Maj April Walker. USAF
Evie Lou Washington
Denise Waters
Keri Wiznerowicz
Emily Howell Warner
Dee Bond Wakelin (New Zealand)
Fay Gillis Wells (archival footage)
Susan Westervelt
Gary Wheeler
Penny White
Lewie Wiese
Cindy Wilson
Marolyn Wilson
Donna Forsyth Wilt
Valdeen Wooton
Katherine Wright (archival photos)
Susan Wright (arhival photo)

Janet Yoder
Capt Lucy B. Young, USNR retired

Roberta Zimmerman

This Day In Women's Aviation

I received my This Day in Women's Aviation desk calender from www.powderpuffpilot.com today.

I'm quite pleased wit the information - one snippet of information per each of the 365 days in the year, as per any other desk calendar, sitting on a sturdy black plastic base.

It's a maiden effort, however, and so instead of individual photographs or illustrations of the pilot concerned for each day, the illustration for each day is only of the Powder Puff Pilot logo.

If this calendar is a success, then I'm sure they'll go for a more "top-of-the-line" version next year.

So, make this calendar a success! Buy it for yourself, for friends and family, for anyone interested in aviation that ya know!

In addition to the date, and the information nugget, there's also four lines for you to write notes. Three different month calendars in the top left hand corner, so you know what came before and what's going to come after day wise, etc.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Let's get wikified!

I've spent the day adding entries to the Women Aviators Wiki.

It's now up to 137 entries, and if I continue to work at the rate I'm doing now, should be 200 by next Monday, if not more.

Of course there are thousands of women pilots that need to be added, so if you'd like to take a hand, feel free.

If you're scared because you don't understand how a wiki works, just send me your info, and I'll "wikify" it for you. No problem.

I'm having fun working on it... And I'm a bit obsessive compulsive which is why I'm devoting so much time to it right now despite the fact that I've got my own stuff I should be doing... but that's what makes me me. The more work of my own I've got to do, the more I love to procrastinate by doing other things.

And this certainly is a worthy cause.

http://www.womenaviators.org/wiki

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pipped at the post again!

I had long intended to start a Women's Aviator Wiki, as an adjunct to my You Fly, Girl webzine, but I see that Women Fly, the company that puts out T-shirts featuring women pilots, has beaten me to it.

Here is the URL for the Wiki:
http://www.womenaviators.org/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page

So far 72 pilots have been added. It needs more contributors, so let's all get together and give it a go!

Willa Brown (Chappell)


Read more about women pilots at Winged Victory: Women in Aviation webzine.

Willa Brown

Willa Brown does not have an entry at Wikipedia.

There is an entry on her at Black Wings: http://www.nasm.si.edu/interact/blackwings/hstudent/bio_brown.cfm, featuring an excerpt written about her by Enoch Waters, the city editor of the Chicago Defender, a black newspaper, in 1936. (The founder and editor of this paper in the early 1900s, Robert S. Abbott, also helped Bessie Coleman get the funds to travel to France to become the first African American woman to get a pilot's license.)

There is an entry for her at Women Aviatiors: http://womenaviators.org/WillaBrown.html
From her page there:
Willa was born on January 22, 1906 in Glasgow, Kentucky. She earned a B.A. from Indiana Teachers College (1927) and an M.B.A. from Northwestern University (1937). She enrolled in the Aeronautical University in Chicago and earned a Master Mechanic Certificate. On June 22, 1938, she earned her private pilot's license with a near perfect test score.

Willa was instrumental in establishing the Coffey School of Aeronautics. (In doing so, she fulfilled Bessie Coleman's ambition of a black owned private flight school.) As the president of the Chicago branch of the National Airmen’s Association of America, she led the successful fight to integrate African Americans into the U.S. Army Corps.

Promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, Willa became the first African American officer in the Civil Air Patrol. She was a member of the Federal Aviation Administration's Women's Advisory Board and became the first African American woman to earn a commercial pilot's license (i.e., so that she could fly passenger airplanes). In 1946 she became the first African American woman to run for Congress.

Willa Brown died in July of 1992.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Women wing walkers

Golden Age aerialists performing thrills for motion pictures and newsreels. Aviatrix footage of the of Mabel Cody, Lilian Boyer, Pancho Barnes, Bobbi Trout and Ninety-Nines aviatrix. See: http://www.americanbarnstormer.com

Only 19 seconds worth of footage here, but you get the idea...

Mary Regalbuto Jones

Mary Regalbuto Jones

No entry in Wikipedia

Obituary from the WASP website, Wings Across America
http://www.wingsacrossamerica.us/web/jones_mary.htm
Mary was born on November 16, 1922, in Cleveland, Ohio, Her parents were Carmela and Philip Regalbuto. She graduated from high school in 1941 and shortly afterwards started studying for her pilot's license.

In 1943, she enlisted in the WASP - the Women Airforce Service Pilots training program. She earned her wings the next year and was sent to the Waco Army Air Field in Waco, Texas, where she was an engineering test pilot.

Mary wed Erwin Jones in 1946 and began working in administrative, personnel and program management positions for the Federal Government.

She was elected in 1974 to serve on the American Airlines Board of Directors, the first woman to do so.

During her 33 years in Federal service, Jones received many awards and honors, including a letter of commendation from President Reagan.

She retired in 1981 and moved to Tulsa to enroll at Spartan School of Aeronautics, where she revalidated her pilot's license and became a sport and antique aviation enthusiast.

She owned and flew a 1941 Navy N3N-3 biplane trainer for 14 years.


Mary founded the First National Biplane Fly-In in Bartlesville in 1987, and she was awarded a Bachelor's Degree in Aviation Science from Oklahoma State University in 1997, when she was 75. (http://www.biplaneexpo.com/)

Obit at Wee Beastie Biplane works: http://www.weebeastie.com/hatzcb1/flown_west/mary_jones_wilkinson/mary_jones_wilkinson.html

Here's a photo of her in her biplane:
http://www.eaa10.org/Wilkinson/

Several photos from Wings Across America site, WASP of Oklahoma
http://community.webshots.com/album/30065095KVZuikKTDw

Support this site, not to mention literacy!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Documentary: Wings of their Own


I recieved a review copy today of Wings of Their Own, a documentary produced in 2006 which interviewed dozens of women pilots and told the story of some of the early pioneers.

Directed by Mary Scott,
Produced by Abby Dress and Mary Scott
http://www.makebelievetv.com/WingsOfTheirOwn.html

Here's some descriptive info from their website:
The production crew has interviewed over 150 women pilots, most of whom are Ninety-Nines, the renowned organization of women pilots founded by Faye Gillis Wells & Amelia Earhart in 1929, at Curtiss Field, Long Island. We have also worked with the Air Race Classic, Women in Aviation International, and Women Military Aviators.

These are women of distinction with fascinating stories to tell. Some are actual pioneers, who pursued aviation firsts, others are record holders, and many do it for fun or a career.


I'll be reviewing this DVD in a couple of days.

And I urge everyone reading this entry to support women in aviation, to encourage their daughters in aviation, and education their sons as to the role of women in aviation! So pick up this documentary - or at least request that your local library do so!

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