My Mother Had Wings

The daughter of a WASP tells her mother’s tale.

(Courtesy Melissa Jordan)

Cockpit Checklist

(Courtesy Melissa Jordan)

“In the course of a day’s work,” writes Jordan, “a WASP might fly something factory-fresh, a war-weary aircraft missing parts, or even dodge stray ammo while towing targets. Every day brought something new." [See a page from Hardman’s North American AT-6 cockpit checklist above.] "After delivering an airplane to Dallas in 1943, my mother was asked by a pilot returning home from a tour in North Africa if she’d like to co-pilot a C-47 he had to deliver to a base in California. Delighted to try out an airplane she hadn’t yet flown, my mother was more than happy to hitch a ride. But the trip had some added thrills no one anticipated:

'…we got near the bombing range in Southern California near the Salton Sea, and we ran into these downdrafts that took us down so many thousand feet. One minute we were up here, and the next, we were practically on the deck. And they were bombing! Dummy bombs, but they were still up there, bombing us!'

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