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Women’s Flying Training Detachment

Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Jacqueline Cochran (right). (U.S. Air Force photo)

Jacqueline Cochran (right). (U.S. Air Force photo)

Fifinella, the WASP mascot. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Fifinella, the WASP mascot. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Hazel Ying Lee reviews her performance after a session in a Link trainer. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Hazel Ying Lee reviews her performance after a session in a Link trainer. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Dora Dougherty, third from left in front of B-29 "Ladybird" with Lt. Col. Paul W. Tibbets, Jr. (left), Dorothea Johnson (2nd from left) and B-29 crew. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Dora Dougherty, third from left in front of B-29 "Ladybird" with Lt. Col. Paul W. Tibbets, Jr. (left), Dorothea Johnson (2nd from left) and B-29 crew. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Meanwhile, under Jacqueline Cochran, a training program for women pilots was approved on Sept. 15, 1942, as the Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD). The 23-week training program begun at Houston included 115 hours of flying time. Training soon moved to Avenger Field at Sweetwater, Texas, and increased to 30 weeks with 210 hours of flying. Trainees were between 21 (later dropped to 18) and 35 years old, and already had at least 200 hours pilot experience (later reduced to 35 hours). Their training emphasized cross country flying with less emphasis on acrobatics and with no gunnery or close formation flight training.

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