By JESSICA AVERY
During World War II, the United States found itself in short supply of male pilots. With most men fighting overseas, the U.S. desperately needed trained pilots for non-combat missions in America. Women throughout our country then answered the call, leading to the creation of the first female squadron. Between 1942 and 1944, more than 1,000 women volunteered their time to become Women Airforce Service Pilots – WASPs for short. The head of the WASP program was Jacqueline Cochran, a pioneering aviator who later became the first woman to break the sound barrier!
As with all military units, the WASPs needed a mascot! Roald Dahl, who served as pilot in the Royal Air Force during World War II, had heard stories of little “gremlins” who were responsible for aviation difficulties like tampering with plane engines. Dahl was inspired to create a children’s story about these mischievous gremlins -- but with a few tweaks.
Paper Airplane Challenge
Now it's your turn to fly a plane! Download the paper airplane instructions here and then create your own fleet! How far can your airplanes fly?
Funding has been provided to the Fort Bend History Association from Humanities Texas and the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020.
Fort Bend Museum Staff