Between 1942 and 1944, WASP pilots flew just about every sort of aircraft produced for the U.S. military from fighters and bombers to cargo planes and trainers. They flew 12,600 missions in all while piloting 78 different types of planes. More than 25,000 women volunteered for the WASPs, fewer than 2,000 were chosen for training. Only half of those made the final cut. The women aviators learned to fly at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas. All received standard U.S. Army Air Corps flight instruction.
While these women fliers of the Soviet Union were certainly trailblazers, none of them could claim to be the first female combat pilot in history. That honour goes to Sabhia Gokcen of Turkey. Adopted at a young age by a military flying instructor, the 23-year-old Gokcen enrolled in her country’s military air academy in 1936.
Later that year she was assigned to the Turkish 1st Aircraft Regiment. Within two years she would be flying combat missions against Kurdish rebels. In one sortie she reportedly dropped a 50 kg bomb onto a formation of enemy insurgents. During her time as a military aviator, Gokcen flew more than 8,000 hours, more than 30 of which were in combat.
She continued to train pilots (some of them female) for the Turkish air force until the 1950s. She continued flying into the 1960s. She died in 2001 at the age of 88, however her memory lives on. One of Istanbul’s two international airports is named after her and next year, Turkey plans to honour the 100th anniversary of her birth.
According to a story in the San Francisco Chronicle, Lucile Wise of Arvada, Colorado went up in the open cockpit Boeing Stearman bi-plane (along with a certified pilot) as part of a publicity event to promote an upcoming museum exhibit. The exposition, which opens in December at Denver’s Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, will celebrate America’s female fliers of World War Two. Wise herself was one of the more than 1,000 women pilots who shuttled military warplanes of every description around the continental United States during the conflict, freeing up male pilots for front line service. The exhibition will commemorate the achievements of these often-forgotten pioneers of the skies. And when considering these female wartime fliers, there is certainly much to commemorate.
Welcome to this part of the Female Pilot MD-11 series and also welcome aboard this classic jet, the McDonnell Douglas MD-11F operated by Lufthansa Cargo. You join us on the flight deck where the Lady Captain Pilot in command is skillfully hand flying the MD-11 airplane on the final approach into Runway 07R Frankfurt International Airport, Germany.
The approach into Frankfurt is overcast but with good visibility of the airfirled and the MD-11F jet glides smoothly along the glideslope with the automated GPWS MD-11 voice callouts announcing each stage of the final descent.
JustPlanes on the flightdeck of the EGYPTAIR Boeing 737-800 with Captain Heba and First Officer Sara operating SU-GEH on a roundtrip from Cairo to Athens. This 4 hour Cockpit Film also includes the Egyptair Airbus A330 on a roundtrip from Cairo to Kuwait as well as the Boeing 777-300ER to New York JFK.
THERE ARE MANY MORE