Commemorative Air Force
Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) – civilian female pilots, employed to fly military aircraft under the direction of the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. The female pilots of the WASP ended up numbering 1,074, each freeing a male pilot for combat service and duties.
- Mildred “Micky” Axton was the first woman to fly a B-29 on May 4, 1944. She was a WASP test pilot who was invited to take control of the bomber on a test flight. At the time, she was a member of the Engineering Flight Test Unit for Boeing in Wichita, Kan., analyzing flight data from B-29s in order to improve their performance. On May 4, 1944, she was one of the crew of nine aboard “Sweet Sixteen,” the 16th of 1,644 B-29s rolled out from the Wichita plant.
- In June of 1944, Lt. Col. Tibbets recruited Dora Dougherty and Dorothea “Didi” Moorman to fly demos of the B-29. The WASPs were trained on the bomber for just three days. Following their brief instruction, Dougherty and Moorman flew multiple demonstrations of the B-29 “Ladybird” without any other pilots aboard.
- The WASP program was deactivated Dec. 20, 1944. During their service, WASP delivered more than 12,000 aircraft and logged more than 60 million miles in more than 70 types of airplanes, including Douglas and Boeing bombers.
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