I was born on July 24,1919, in Little Rock, Arkansas. I wanted to fly after my first commercial airlines flight in 1941. I found a flight instructor willing to teach me to fly. I got my license in 1942. Three of my friends and I scraped together enough money to buy a 60 hp single-engine Aeronca Chief. I became a member of the Civil Air Patrol. I spotted an opening in the Link trainer program with the Navy, and I taught in the instrument flight instructor’s school in Atlanta.
I heard about the WASP program. I applied and was accepted in the class of 43-4. I was assigned to Camp Davis, North Carolina, to tow aerial targets to train antiaircraft crews on the ground, and dropped chaff, “a kind of shredded tin foil,” designed to confuse enemy radar. I also flew military personnel to Washington and Atlanta, as well as receiving my military instrument rating.
In May 1944, I resigned from the WASP to get married. In 1956, I moved to Miami, Florida.
When Miami-Dade Community College, North Campus, added the aerospace program, I was a secretary there for the technical division.
I finished my undergraduate work started years before at the University of Georgia and at Florida Atlantic University. I updated my pilot training and joined Miami-Dade Community College’s new aviation department as an instructor in 1965.
While finishing my master’s degree in business administration, I moved to Miami-Dade, South Campus as a full-time assistant professor, teaching in the aerospace science department.
I developed a flight simulator program that a number of schools used as a model. I coached students to participate in the National Intercollegiate Flying Association events as well as teaching meteorology, air transportation, navigation, flight theory and instrument flight procedures.
In 1972 and 1977 I was presented with the annual Florida Air Pilots Association’s award for “Outstanding Contribution to General Aviation” in recognition of service to students, my contributions as an aviation author and instrument instructor, and leadership in local state and national flying organizations.
I have been in one air race and a judge for a number of international races. I have an air transport pilots certificate, as well as a commercial glider certificate. I am an FAA Gold Seal multi-engine, single engine and instrument flight instructor. I was a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) examiner for written tests for 20 years.
I retired from Miami-Dade Community College as Professor Emeritus in 1987, but continue flight and ground instructing on a freelance basis as well as fun flying. I loved being able to share my experience and love of flying.
In 1996, I was presented with the prestigious Greater Miami Aviation Association Annual Wright Brothers Award at a large banquet and program. In 1998 was inducted into the 99s International Forest of Friendship.
I am so fortunate to have a wonderful family, a daughter, Donna Timmons, and two sons, Jay and Kenny, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
I have had the opportunity to travel extensively and to ski the Colorado and North Carolina slopes. Since I retired I have had the pleasure of taking piano lessons and learning some of the classic jazz numbers.
From WASP Betty Stagg Turner’s book “Out of the Blue and into History”