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WASPS DEMONSTRATE THEIR ABILITIES

Posted 9/1/2009 Printable Fact Sheet
 
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Bell YP-59A
Bell YP-59A Airacomet. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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Women pilots sometimes encountered resentment from males. For example, the only WASP in a P-47 class of 36 males was considered an intruder -- until she became the fourth in the group to solo in the huge fighter. WASPs later routinely ferried P-47s from the factory.

WASPs made demonstration flights in the "hot" B-26 Marauder and the new B-29 Superfortress, challenging male egos and showing that these aircraft weren't as difficult to fly as some men felt them to be.

Ann Baumgartner became the first woman to fly an USAAF jet at Wright Field when she flew the Bell YP-59A twin jet fighter. WASPs flew virtually every type of USAAF aircraft from light trainers to heavy four-engine bombers. They flew about 60 million miles or 2,500 times around the world at the Equator, with 38 deaths. Before and after graduation, their accident rate was comparable to that for male pilots doing similar jobs.

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