LYON AIR MUSEUM
A Tribute to
Women Airforce Service Pilots
WHEN: Saturday, February 8, 2014 10 AM to 1 PM
WHAT: Lyon Air Museum, a premier Southern California showcase for vintage historic military aircraft and vehicles, will conduct a symposium and book signing paying tribute to the more than 1,000 women who served as Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) during World War II. LAM Docent and acclaimed author, Nancy Robison, will be on hand to sign copies of her latest book, “We Love to Fly,” about the brave and amazing WASPs who flew in support of the war effort.
“The WASPs courageous service to our country was essential to the war effort, enabling their male counterparts to be deployed en masse to combat zones around the world,” said Robison. ”They completed the same rigorous flight training syllabus, and by war’s end had flown 78 different kinds of aircraft, logging more than 60 million miles of flying while test piloting and delivering planes throughout the United States.” In spite of this, they were not considered as military personnel at the time, and their service did not receive adequate recognition, nor military benefits, in the years following the war. It wasn’t until 1977 they were granted veterans’ status and the official acknowledgment they so deserved.
As part of the program, World War II veteran WASPs will be on hand to tell their incredible stories, including 95 year old Beverly Beesemyer, who served while flying B-26 bombers stateside, towing targets for live ammunition practice.
At the conclusion of the talk, an AT-6 Texan advanced trainer of World War II, the same type of aircraft often piloted by WASPs, is scheduled to take to the skies for a quick demonstration flight. “What a ship,” remarked Beesemyer after her first AT-6 training flight in 1944. “What procedure, what confusion!” she continued.
And what a ship it was. The North American AT-6 Texan was a sophisticated single-engine aircraft used to train pilots of the US Air Forces, US Navy, Royal Air Force and other air forces of the British Commonwealth during WWII and into the 1950s. Powered by a 600 horsepower engine, and quite challenging to maneuver during takeoffs and landings, the complex “Texan” was designed to teach the Allied flyers all they would need to know before flying high performance aircraft in combat. LAM’s AT-6 serves as a tribute to millions of men and women who served during World War II, and pays homage to the dedication, sacrifice and contributions of those like the WASPs who helped pioneer the skies.
Hours of operation are daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission rates: General admission–$12; Seniors and Veterans–$9; Ages 5-17–$6; Under age 5—Free. Groups of 10 or more–$1 off each visitor. Pre-arranged school groups—Free.
Lyon Air Museum