About 1,100 young women flew military aircraft stateside during World War II as part of a program called Women Airforce Service Pilots — WASP for short. These civilian volunteers ferried and tested planes so male pilots could head to combat duty.
Pioneering female pilot who flew Spitfires during Second World War and became magazine cover girl dies aged 91
Female Pilot of the US Women's Air Force Service, 1943. The women who served as Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) flew military aircraft during non-combat missions throughout the United States' involvement in World War II.
Nancy Harkness Love, September 22, 1942. With the approach of World War II, Love recognized the coming need for pilots to ferry aircraft and identified highly qualified women pilots who could perform such duties. In September 1942, the Army Air Corps' Air Transport Command approved the creation of a temporary, civilian women's flying corps, the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS), under her direction. She is pictured here leaning against a Fairchild PT-19A. SI-96-15604
The Russian women who piloted those planes, onetime crop dusters, took it as a compliment. In 30,000 missions over four years, they dumped 23,000 tons of bombs on the German invaders, ultimately helping to chase them back to Berlin. Any German pilot who downed a “witch” was awarded an Iron Cross.