It’s taken me awhile to write about this, but it didn’t take me awhile to read this book. I bought it on our trip to the National Air and Space Museum. Daughter of the Air by Rob Simbeck is about Cornelia Fort who was a WAFS (the original WASPs) and she was also teaching a student in Hawaii on the morning of Pearl Harbor. This woman was amazing! She was also the first female pilot to die in active duty in American history.
I highly recommend this book, like my other favorite book The Powder Puff Derby of 1929, it takes letters and such and writes it in a nice narrative. It’s not dry or overly wordy, it tells her story great.
This woman loved to fly. Once she discovered flying, she flew ALL the time. I wish I could do that. I believe (getting a little forgetful on the exact facts) she started flying about 3 years before joining the WAFS, with her flying hours, I calculated she flew at least one hour a day every day before joining. Obviously it wasn’t that exactly, but that is impressive! I wish I had the resources to do that. I enjoy though reading her journey through flying, always looking for a good opportunity and one that would challenge her and get her to be a better pilot. I think that’s important, that every pilot should always be striving to become a better one in some way.
It was inspiring to see how she accomplished all these things and flying hours, when it was more difficult for women to fly. But reading this you learn not everyone really cared if she was a woman or a man. An example was her first instructor job, they mistook her for a man. She was upset and sent a telegram back that she was Miss Fort, not Mr. Fort. Their response: “Mr. or Miss or Mrs. Fort. We do not care what you are if you can teach flying. Report at once.” What an amazing response!
Cornelia did so much in her life, and she died at 24 years old. Definitely going up there on the female pilot inspirations.
Don’t worry, I still have other books people mentioned on my list “Three Eight Charlie” “West with the Night” (been trying that but the language is a bit too flowery for me), “Fate is the Hunter” and “Flight of Passage” but shockingly some are out of print. Sad, but just trying to order cheap used ones off Amazon when I get the chance.