The National Business Aviation Association will present its Meritorious Service to Aviation Award to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), at the 2018 NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE), to be held Oct. 16-18, in Orlando, FL.
The Meritorious Service to Aviation Award recognizes extraordinary lifelong contributions to aviation. Accepting the award on behalf of the group will be Erin Miller, who was instrumental in pushing legislation to get inurnment rights at Arlington National Cemetery for the WASP after her grandmother, WASP Elaine Harmon, passed away.
Founded in 1943, the WASP organization was an adjunct to the Army Air Forces’ efforts during World War II. Trained male pilots were in short supply and were needed to fight the war, but the Army was desperate for pilots to deliver new trainer aircraft to flight schools in the South. The WASP organization was made up of two civilian-flying groups: the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron and the Women's Flying Training Detachment, led by Nancy Love and Jacqueline Cochran.
WASP (L to R) Frances Green, Margaret Kirchner, Ann Waldner and Blanche Osborn leave their B-17, called Pistol Packin' Mama, during ferry training at Lockbourne Army Air Force base in Ohio. | Photo courtesy US National Archive.
WASP flew every aircraft in the Army’s arsenal. In addition to ferrying, they towed gunnery targets, transported equipment and non-flying personnel and flight-tested aircraft that had been repaired before the men were allowed to fly them again. For more than two years, the WASP went on to perform a wide variety of aviation-related jobs, and to serve at more than 120 bases around the country.
More than 1,100 WASP pilots flew more than 60 million miles and delivered 12,650 airplanes across the country during their time of operation. The WASP program was suspended in December 1944.
“We are very pleased to present NBAA’s Meritorious Service to Aviation Award to Erin Miller on behalf of all the WASP pilots,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. “These brave and accomplished women were instrumental to the success of the war effort. The courage and skill of these pilots exemplifies the spirit of NBAA's Meritorious Service to Aviation Award.”
BlueSky Business Aviation News | 9th August 2018 | Issue #475
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