News Updates From Sarah
Teresa James, WAFS Pilot
Gear Up/Gear Down—a P-47 to Newark
Coming October 20, 2020
In the early 1930s – when she was just twenty-one years old – Teresa James thrilled air-show audiences with her dizzying, dare-devil barnstorming stunts in a vintage 1920s biplane. Little did she know her exceptional flying skills and nerves of steel would be called upon to serve Uncle Sam in World War II.
Teresa was one of the first to join the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS)—America’s first squadron of women pilots to fly for the U.S. during WWII. Her initial job was to ferry (fly) small “trainer” aircraft from manufacturing plants to the Army’s flight training schools. Soon, though, Teresa was called upon to fly America’s biggest fighter aircraft, the P-47 “Thunderbolt.”
When Teresa was handed her orders, she was both elated and troubled. “This was no trainer. The cockpit had only enough room for a single pilot—me—so my first flight was a solo! I finally got up the courage to call the tower and say I was ready for takeoff. I pulled onto the runway and locked the tail-wheel. Then I heard the soft male voice from the tower, ‘P-47 cleared for takeoff.’ I shoved the throttle to the firewall. The sudden power pushed me back against the seat as the plane moved down the runway, gaining speed. I was off in nothing flat…”
Watch the trailer: Teresa James, WAFS Pilot
Betty Gillies: WAFS Pilot
Betty, 5 feet 1½ inches and known to the girls in her squadron as “the Mighty Atom,” flew every twin and single-engine, single-seat fighter aircraft needed to win World War II. She used specially made blocks that allowed her to reach the rudder pedals.
Betty was Nancy’s “rock” and confidante.
After the war, Betty was urged to write her story — or let someone else write it. She refused. “I was just living my life.”
“Flying a plane was as normal for her as driving a car,” her granddaughter Glen writes in the Foreword to this book.
Betty “flew west” in 1998. Twenty years later, I approached Glen and her father, Betty’s son Pete, about writing her long-awaited story. The three of us have worked together to bring you the incredible, untold ’til now, story of the remarkable “Mighty Atom,” Betty Huyler Gillies.
Nancy Love: WASP Pilot
“With publication of her new YA book, Nancy Love: WASP Pilot, Sarah enhances her well-established reputation for bringing the stories of the WASP of WWII to life. If the subject is WASP, Sarah is THE expert.”
–TRISH BECKMAN Commander, US Navy (retired)
“Sarah has a gift for telling compelling stories about the WASP, the women pilots of World War II. Young readers will enthusiastically absorb her love for and fascination for this area of U.S. history.”
–ERIN MILLER, author of Final Flight Final Fight, chronicling the fight to have her, WASP grandmother buried at Arlington Cemetery
BJ Erickson: WASP Pilot
BJ and Nancy Love flew Genevieve, a much-patched-up, war-weary B-17, to the graveyard — with loving care. She had to be flown at a greatly reduced airspeed because of a large red sign on the instrument panel that read, DO NOT RETRACT LANDING GEAR.
“Along the entire route, we tried to ignore intruders that flew by us and signaled — in a superior manner — that we’d forgotten to pull the landing gear up,” Nancy wrote. “We strongly suspected that the epithet ‘women drivers’ was being directed at us along with their hand signals.”
Finding Dorothy Scott
“Oh, Pop, we made a nighttime formation take off between smudge pots lining the runways. I’ll never in all my life forget that ride! We were nearly touching the other plane, guided only by small lights and the flare of the exhaust. The rapidly fading field looked like a million small fires.”
Dorothy’s letters put you in the aircraft with her. Her voice transcends the years.
WASP of the Ferry Command
Personal stories from 40 daring women who lived the story that IS the legacy of the Ferrying Division, Air Transport Command: Decades ahead of their time, these women ferried the Army’s newest aircraft to the docks to be shipped abroad to the battlefront — or wherever else in the U.S. they might be needed.
Flight to Destiny
Fly the skies over America with three fictional heroines, Annie, Clare and Midge, who become WASP ferry pilots. Meet them on December 7, 1941, and live WWII with them into summer 1945. Through them, you will get to know real-life WASP leaders Nancy Love and Jackie Cochran.
Nancy Batson Crews
“Nancy’s story comes straight from my heart. We were best friends her final year. She flew P-47s, P-51s, heroic stuff to this child of WWII! Nancy chose me to write the story of her beloved WAFS. THE ORIGINALS is as much her book as it is mine. Then I chose to write her story — the sometimes painful but inspirational portrait of a patriot.” – Sarah Byrn Rickman, 2017
Nancy Love and the WASP
Nancy Love, with General William H. Tunner, created THE workable concept for women pilots to ferry aircraft for the US military and successfully led her WASP to do just that. By September 1944, she had 134 civilian women pilots delivering three-fifths of all single-engine pursuit aircraft coming off factory assembly lines.
How? Read her story and find out.
Flight from Fear
Lacy Stearns swallows her fear of flying to become a WASP and fly in place of her husband who dies in a B-24 crash early in the war. She and her friends fly, live, love and, because it is wartime, lose loved ones. World War II tested the mettle of a generation — men and women. The WASP were not found wanting.
Twenty-eight women with at least 500 flying hours, commercial licenses and 200-horsepower ratings, answered their country’s call and joined the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron. Founder Nancy Love led them from flying trainers to ferrying fighters to U.S. ports for shipment to combat. Personal stories and history blend in this first book about the WAFS.
a few words from
Sarah Byrn Rickman:
Sarah Byrn Rickman: