Three-time national aerobatic champion Patty Wagstaff has probably done more to make aerobatics a household word than any other pilot in history. In 1991, competing in a field of both men and women, she won the National Aerobatic Championship, the first woman to do so. And to prove that it wasn't just a fluke, she went on to win in 1992 and 1993. After retiring from the rigors of competition, Patty continues to thrill airshow audiences with her exciting "hard core" aerobatics airshow in her Extra 300. She generously donated her competition airplane, an Extra 260, to the National Air & Space Museum, where it is on permanent display. As a respected member of the aviation community, she serves on boards and advisory panels for museums, regulatory bodies and sport aviation organizations. She has written an autobiography "Fire and Air", and is a frequent contributor to aviation publications as well as a sought-after speaker.
Back design is a reproduction of Patty's airshow routine, in her own "Aresti symbol" handwriting.
Patty Wagstaff T-Shirts
Betty won the International Feminine Aerobatic Championships in 1948-1950 in the revolutionary new Pitts Special biplane while still in her 20's. She learned to fly early, soloing at age 12, and perfected her airshow flying through determination, courage and perfectionism. Her spunky style drew the admiration of airshow crowds from coast to coast. She flew numerous airplanes for speed records, including the P-51 Mustang, and after retiring from aviation, worked with Chevrolet on development of the Corvette. In addition to setting speed records in the Corvette, she was active in boat jumping and skydiving. In 1959 she trained and tested with the original Mercury astronauts, even though women were eventually dropped from the program. Her Pitts bi-plane, "Little Stinker" is on display in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
Betty Skelton T-Shirts
"Pancho" Lowe Barnes was born in 1901 to a wealthy California family. She began flying in 1928 and spent the next ten years setting speed records, competing in races, stunt flying for movie moguls and organizing the stunt pilots’ labor union. Pancho nearly exhausted the family fortune by 1933, so she sold off her remaining property and bought 80 acres of land in the desert — next to what is now Edwards Air Force Base. There she established an airstrip, hog ranch, the Women’s Air Reserve and the Civilian Pilot Training Program. By the 1940’s she had parlayed her land into 380 acres, built a bar and dance hall, guest houses, swimming pool and a restaurant. Most of her customers were military personnel,especially the test pilots and officers. From privates to generals, everyone loved Pancho. Pancho’s Ranch grew in popularity until the top brass at Edwards decided they wanted to build a longer landing strip. They needed her land and conspired to get it by accusing her of being a madam running a house of ill repute. Acting as her own attorney, Pancho battled in the courts for years, eventually clearing herself of all charges. The Air Force did, however, have the final word and the Happy Bottom Riding Club was closed forever. Pancho was forced to sell her beloved ranch, and moved to a more remote location in the desert. She died in 1975.
'Pancho' Barnes T-Shirts
In the infancy of the space age, Jerrie Cobb was chosen to undergo the Mercury astronaut selection tests. After weeks of grueling tests, she passed all three phases and qualified as America's first woman astronaut at age 29. In a sudden and devastating blow, Jerrie was denied the opportunity to fly in space due to new requirements of military jet test pilot experience initiated by NASA. For over 35 years, Jerrie has found great joy flying everyday over the Amazon rain forest, bringing hope, seeds and help to the people who live there. Jerrie has waited 40 years for a chance to fly in space.
Jerrie Cobb T-Shirts
Flying professionally since the age of twenty, Wally has accumulated over 16,500 hours of flying time. As a flight instructor, she has soloed over 800 student pilots. In 1961, Wally volunteered for the Women in Space program with aspirations of becoming an astronaut. Her dream coincided perfectly with America's hope for launching the first woman into space. Not only did Wally pass the tests, becoming one of 13 qualified candidates (now known as the Mercury 13), she rated third among her constituents and even scored higher than Astronaut John Glenn. Hours before the women were to undergo the final round of testing NASA refused to authorize the completion of the tests. Amid brewing controversy and charges of sexual discrimination, the Mercury 13 program ended abruptly and without explanation. The photo used in this design was taken fall 1960 at Fort Sill, OK where Wally was instructing military personnel in a Cessna 195 while training for the Mercury 13 tests.
Wally Funk T-Shirts
They thrilled crowds of people all across the world with courageous acrobatics and death defying stunts. Looping, wing walking, parachuting, spiraling the barnstorming era of the 1920s at last afforded women flyers an opportunity for a career in aviation. The work was difficult and far less glamorous than it appeared. Many of the performers lived near poverty level, managing only to cover the costs of fuel and aircraft maintenance. But it was a chance to indulge in a passion that consumed the very souls of the women who joined the circuit. It was a chance to fly. While many women contributed to the excitement and folklore of the barnstorming era, it was Gladys Roy who perfected a stunt that captured the spirit and untamed passion of these daring aviatrixes. With a receiver strapped to the aircraft, she threw up her arms with joyful abandon and danced the Charleston on the wing of her plane as it raced through the clouds.
Gladys Roy T-Shirts