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The Betty H. Carter Women Veterans Historical Project

Letter from Dorothy Avery to Eunice, circa 1943

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Object ID: WV0204.4.011

Description: Avery describes doing stalls, steep turns, and shot landings during flight training at Mather Field, California, and mentions top speeds of 350 to 450 mph. She notes that several men are now in their class training. She hopes she is able to handle the plane in case of an emergency.

Creator: Dorothy Avery

Biographical Info: Dorothy Avery (1917-1999) was a pilot in the WASPs (Women Airforce Service Pilots) from 1943-1944, then worked as an inspector for Navy-Lockheed Service Center.

Collection: Dorothy Avery Papers

Rights: It is responsibility of the user to follow the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Materials are not to be reproduced in published works without written consent, and any use should credit Jackson Library, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Full Text: Dear Eunice

We really got down to business yesterday. I flew for 2:15 and was in the air about five hours. Our Instructor takes the two of us up every other day for five hours giving us about 2 1/2 hours of time, instead of flying all four in one day. That way we don't waste time changing on the ground. Gosh I did stalls steep turns, and shot landings. It doesn't seem possible that I am actually flying this type of ship. They land at 130 and 140 mph, climb at 160 mph, cruise at 210 to 230 mph have a top of 350 to 450 mph.

There are a lot of fellows that just finished training like we did and are in our class training on these ships too. Some times I thought I was a sissy but there are plenty of them that are scared of this stuff at times. You don't show it no, but really everyone is, they can't help but be.

You wonder too how long your luck is going to hold out, sooner or later something is bound to happen, I only hope I can handle the situation & the plane in case of an emergency. I guess I can do as good as the next guy though.

We get one day a week off and every week it is different. It seems funny to fly and go to G.S. on Sunday. I sure could do with that leave I missed to. Get a little fed up on barracks, so many uniforms, so many strange people and places and Army life in General. Guess I better stop griping, I guess I'm just in that mood.

How's everything with you, on the level I mean. I hope better. Say Hello to your mother and Sis when you see them. I had better eat now because I am going to get a permanent wave tonight. Yes the [sic] have a beauty shop, theater and everything here. This field is so big we walk two blocks to mess, 8 to flight line, about 8 or 9 short ones to Ground school, spend all our spare time walking between schedules. Take care of yourself and remember plenty of sunshine, and rest especially rest. Then when I get home we will really celebrate.