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On March 8, 1952, a ceremony was held by the Central Military Commission and China Women’s Federation at Beijing Xijiao Airport, “to celebrate the first female space crew to take off.“ Following the first flight, Zhu De 朱德 (1886-1976) who was a prominent political figure in the Communist Party, was accompanied by Air Force Commander Liu Yalou and met New China’s first batch of female pilots and posed for photos.

Image 1: One of New China’s first female pilots Wu Xiumei 武秀梅

Sources: chuansong.me午夜影院的喜欢 

Laurel van der Wal (d. 2009)

Summary: Pioneering female aeronautical engineer Laurel van der Wal (d. 2009) (later Laurel van der Wal Roennau) had had a brief career as a model, art instructor, and deputy sheriff before training to be a pilot during World War II; she returned to University of California to become an aeronautical engineer, winning the Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award in 1961 when she was head of bioastronautics at Space Technology Laboratories.

The 1961 press release announcing award emphasized that the “pretty head of bioastronautics at Space Technology Laboratories, Inc.” was a “former model” even though the Los Angeles Times had recently named her 1961 Woman Scientist of the Year. She was a specialist in engineering problems of manned space flight, including effects of weightlessness, radiation protection, and development of data handling and processing systems

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Pilot Time!

Yup, Cartoon Network just released their newest crop of pilots and unreleased shorts! 

Jammers by Lizz Hickey: Carol kiiiinda wants a cute boy to go to the dance with and possibly marry, but doesn’t want to work too hard for it. Her subconscious has other plans in mind.  

Tome of the Unknown by Patrick McHale: A precursor to the hit miniseries Over the Garden Wall, this short takes us back to Wirt, Greg, and Beatrice. The three travel in search of the tome, in a short first glimpsed at long ago in a feature on CN animators.

Back to Backspace by Dominic Bisignano and Amalia Levari: Ever wonder where all the crud you backspaced into the ether goes? Well, now you’re gonna find out. In this colorful short, a unique staff works in a strange dimension tending to all the world’s deleted things.

Ridin’ with Burgess by Andres Salaff: Burgess. He sells sandwiches. He’s not a fancy dude. But he’s going to have to go into space in 6000 AD and be Earth’s ambassador to the Planetary Alliance anyway. Why? A computer said so.

Twelve Forever by Julia Vickerman: Middle school sucks. Becoming an adult sucks. You know what doesn’t suck? Going through mystical portals to Party Island to be as radical as you want with your best friends. 

Click through to see these new toons! (Sorry Canada)

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Today marks the 70th anniversary of the deactivation of the WASP program.

Elizabeth “Betty” Maxine Chambers was a young mother and a widow. Betty’s husband, Army pilot Lieutenant Robert William Chambers, died in 1942 when his P-38F Lightening aircraft crashed at Mills Field in San Mateo, California.

Undaunted, Betty applied to be among the first female pilots in the newly formed Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program. This innovative civilian program was designed to employ women to ferry wartime aircraft, serve as flight instructors, tow targets for live anti-aircraft practice, transport cargo, and fly experimental aircraft. These female pilots relieved men from domestic duties so they could fight overseas in the war.

The women were trained as rigorously as military pilots and were paid at a rate of $1,800 per year. Successful trainees were be stationed at one of 120 air bases, paid $3,000 per year, and reclassified as civilian pilots.

Like the majority of her fellow pilots, Betty Chambers received her training at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas. After training, Betty was sent to Turner Field in Albany, Georgia, then attended the Army Air Force Tactical School in Orlando, Florida. She was later stationed at Greenwood Army Air Field in Greenwood, Mississippi.

As male pilots returned from wartime service, WASP members in service at the end of 1944 were forced to resign.Men wanted to fly domestically and the country wanted women back at home to take care of their families.

Betty Chambers was among the  women whose service ended when the WASP program was disbanded.

On November 2, 1977, President Jimmy Carter passed Public Law 95-202, which granted military veteran status to all who served under the WASP program. In 2009, the highest medal awarded to civilians—the Congressional Gold Medal—was bestowed upon the Women Airforce Service Pilots.

Betty’s photograph (seen here) comes from her official personnel folders (OPFs).The National Archives at St. Louis maintains the civilian WASP (OPFs).

The administrative paperwork in these files reveals story after story of WASP adventures and history. OPFs are open to the public and photocopies of OPFs can be obtained for a fee. Please visit http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/archival-programs/civilian-personnel-archival/ for more information.

 Elizabeth ​"Betty" Maxine Chambers, WASP Class of 44-W-3, from her OPF, National Archives in St. Louis.

Telegram from Jacqueline Cochran summoning Elizabeth Chambers to WASP duty, from her OPF, National Archives in St. Louis.

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1.  Katherine Sui Fun Cheung - Stunt Pilot and first Chinese-American woman to earn a pilot’s license.

2. Barbara Ann Allen Rainey - First female pilot in the U.S. military.

3.  Sabiha Gökçen - First woman to fly a fighter plane in combat.

4. Touria Chaoui - First female pilot in Morocco and seen as a symbol of independence from France.

5. Bessie Coleman - First African American to gain a pilot’s license, an international one since her home country would not train her.