The Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP) and its predecessor groups, the Women’s Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) and the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) were pioneering organizations of civilian female pilots employed to fly military aircraft under the direction of the United States Army Air Forces during World War II.
Fran Bera started flying in December of 1940 at Grand Rapids Michigan while she was in high school--skipping school to take lessons. Inspired by a dollar plane ride at the local fairgrounds, she saved her school lunch money to pay for these lessons. By the age of 16, she had flown her first solo flight...
Patty Wagstaff was first introduced to flying by her father, a captain with Japan Airlines. One of her fondest memories is a long ago flight with him, as she took the controls of his DC-6 for the first time. As a child, Patty was particularly intrigued with aerobatics. She would often ask her father, “What’s it like to do a loop?”
Louise McPhetridge Thaden, a famous American female pilot of the golden age of aviation, was one of the first women to win major flying events and awards, and set world performance records. She took her first flight in 1919; a $5 ride with a barnstormer.
Orphaned at an early age, the exact date of “Jackie” Cochran's birth is unknown. However, we do know that her most distinguished aviation career began in 1932 when she obtained her pilot's license after only three weeks of instruction. From this point on, she dedicated her life to aviation.
Sally Ride attended Stanford University where she received a doctorate degree in Physics in 1978. One of over 8,000 people to answer an advertisement in a newspaper seeking applicants for the space program, Ride joined NASA in 1978.
Bessie Coleman was the first African-American woman to earn a pilot’s license. She was born on January 26, 1892 in Atlanta, Texas, growing up in Waxahachie, one of thirteen children born to sharecroppers. At 18, she enrolled in the Colored Agricultural and Normal University in Oklahoma, but left after one term to return home, where she picked cotton and worked as a laundress.
SDASM now offers tours to persons who are otherwise unable to visit our museum in Balboa Park. This is done by the use of a computer controlled televising robot operated by anyone with a computer and internet access.
As a nurse’s aide in Toronto in 1918, Amelia Earhart became fascinated by flight while watching aerial exhibitions. She earned her wings in Los Angeles in 1925, and in 1928 was asked to fly across the Atlantic as a passenger, the first woman to do so.
Noted for their achievements in aviation, inspiration to women pilots, and dedication to education and preservation of women's aviation history, the Ninety-Nines organization was created in 1929.