Jan Marie Wood, 44-8

Jan Marie Wood Reseda, California was born November 6, 1921 in Los Angeles, California. In 1943, during the junior year as a Major at UCLA, I heard about the WASP and asked my parents if they could give me flying lessons. They said, “No, we can’t afford it.” I sold my accordion for $350.00 and drove my 1929 Ford and a tear drop trailer to Olancha, California, which was the nearest private flying area around Los Angeles during the war. This money bought 35 hours of flying time, which was required to get into the WASP. In March 1944, I entered the class of 44-W-8, in Sweetwater, Texas. After completion, I was assigned to Stockton, California at a twin engine base as a test pilot for UC- 78s, AT-6s and BT-11s. After deactivation I resumed teaching physical education in the Los Angeles district and flew occasionally.

In 1953, I purchased a Taylor Craft “Witchcraft,” orange in color, and flew in the USA and Mexico. In 1954, I had an opportunity to fly to Point Banáow, Alaska in an Ercoupe and landed and camped in an Eskimo village. In 1955, while beach combing at Catalina Island at the Isthmus, where I spent the summer, I dreamed up the idea of going around the world in my own plane on a sabbati calleave of one year from school. DUling the fall and winter, I sold some property and made plans for the journey and purchased a larger plane – a Cessna 170B, 1953 vintage and named it “Little Yellow Cloud.” In February of 1956, I started the journey to New York. I took the wings, tail and landing gear off and shipped the plane in PAA cargo plane, to Frankfurt, Germany, where I had it reassembled by the US Airforce on that field. I flew seven times from top to bot tom of Europe. When it was cold in the north, I flew south, and when it was hot in the south, I flew north. I have the distinction of being the first private plane to fly over North Cape, Norway, the most north ern point in Europe, with a military escort from Norway. In December 1956, I flew east, middle east and far east to Singapore. I was jailed as a spy in Turkey, lost a right brake through three countries, and had seven forced landings from dirty fuel. In March 1957, I handed the plane to British Aero Club in Singapore who had it disassembled, boxed and put on a Japanese freighter and sent to Long Beach, California while I went commercial to the Philip pines, Hong Kong, Japan, Hawaii and took a five-day cruise on the Leilani Ship to Long Beach, 13 months after beginning the trip. “Little Yellow Cloud” arrived a few weeks later and was reassembled at Van Nuys, California where I am stationed. Since then “Little Yellow Cloud” and I have been to Mexico, Canada, Alaska, USA and local. In 1960 I flew two Powder Puff Derbys, first co-pilot: Trixie Ann Schubert. We placed 15th out of 70 planes; second co-pilot: Norma Ojustedt. We placed 14th out of 100 planes. In 1963, the airplane was 10 years old and couldn’t race anymore. In 1986, two paint jobs later “Little Yellow Cloud” is a prized antique, still ready to perform at the “drop of a hat.” In 1988 I took a commercial flight to China, Tahiti, and Russia! Europe. In 1989, there was a commercial flight to Kenya/Egypt.

Some of my interesting “picked up passengers”: a French man – (RAF flyer) Paris; a French woman (curator in a museum); a French girl – age 18 and a Spanish woman age 40, touring Spain; Jesse and Ruby Wood – parents, seven weeks in Europe; a CAP Cadet, girl age 18; two weeks as my guest; a Swedish Aero Club officer. I opened a new Swedish airport and was the first to fly over to break the “ribbon.”

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