Sunday, March 20, 2016

One For The Ladies

San Diego Air & Space Museum, American Women of Flight Exhibit
The other day a friend of mine shared a video on my Facebook page, it was of a 92 year old lady who had the joy of going up in a Spitfire. While this is a pretty big deal, the biggest thing about that story is that the lady in question hadn't been up in a Spitfire in 70 years! Her name is Joy Lofthouse, she 
joined the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) in 1943 after spotting an advert in a flying magazine and went on to become one of the forgotten women who broke through male-dominated barriers to pilot fighter aircraft and to deliver them for service in the front line. She flew almost 20 different RAF aircraft during the war, delivering them to airbases throughout Britain, including the Spitfire. (Source)
Isn't she something?

Now as many of you know, I consider the Spitfire to be the most beautiful aircraft to ever take to the skies. That elliptical wing, the graceful lines, the sound of that powerful Merlin engine. A beautiful aircraft to be sure. (Dinna fash ye'selves, we all have our favorites, this one is mine!) Oh yes, the museum in Sandy Eggo does have a Spit, here she is...



And here's that video of Joy Lofthouse when she returned to the skies in the aircraft she helped to win the war in. Yes, you heard that right, her job was of vital importance. She stood tall when freedom called. (Video courtesy of the BBC.)



Why do I always get a little teary eyed when I see someone obviously enjoying themselves in an aircraft?

Something that tends to get lost in the shuffle sometimes in all the discussion about women in the military is that we all have a part to play in this life regardless of one's plumbing. I have served with women, some were outstanding, some were average, some probably should have found another line of work. For the most part the women I served with had every right to be there and were damned good at their jobs.

The San Diego Air & Space Museum is a place I need to get back to someday when I can spend more time there. It's got some great displays, the one honoring the ladies of the air is excellent.






I have to admit, I'm a bit prejudiced when it comes to ladies in flight suits, I've known some good ones! Such as The WSO and a couple of her colleagues...

L'il Debbie, LUSH and Danica

Oh yeah...
Go Bullets!

An F/A-18F Super Hornet, assigned to the Bounty Hunters of Strike Fighter Squadron Two (VFA-2), conducts a training flight over the Pacific Ocean near the coast of Southern California (US Navy Photo)

18 comments:

  1. Strange how a short video can bring on a pollen problem.
    My only cat shot had a female in the left seat.
    Great post.

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    1. I know what you mean about the pollen.

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  2. That Spitfire is a beauty! And the airplane is nice too.

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  3. I love stories of female pilots - especially WWII.

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    1. We sometimes forget, well, some do, I don't.

      (Having a very capable wife and two strong daughters might have something to do with that!)

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  4. Eric Brown described the Spitfire as a ballerina with a switchblade, and the Hellcat, the favorite of Badgers, as a heavyweight boxer with an ax. You favorite plane and mine were Brown's favorites, too.

    Joy Lofthouse was clearly having a blast! YAY, JOY!

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    Replies
    1. Ballerina with a switchblade and heavyweight boxer with an ax, Mr. Brown is missed.

      Ms. Lofthouse was certainly having fun!

      Delete
  5. "...didn't talk as much as I thought I would..."
    So that's one way to quiet them (HSWHTPFIHC)

    Good post, Sarge

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  6. A cherished signature in my pilot log book is Betty Ross, a WWII WAAF ferry pilot. She and her partner operated the Rifle, CO airport.

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  7. Nice article. Tip of the Hat to all four of the lovely ladies in your post. What a treat for Joy, hard to think of all the memories and feelings that must have brought back for her. Respect

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  8. Those WASPs deserve to be allowed in Arlington. They DID their part. And kudos to all those pioneering women in aviation!

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  9. Perhaps the most important lesson I ever learned was when a little slip of a girl broke my nose at NACCS. It's one thing to read about desire and dedication and perseverance and to tell yourself you've got it in spades. It's quite another thing to see the real thing in person and recognize it for what it is.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)