AN AVIATRIX FROM WWII

Lois Emma Hailey
January 18, 1915 to April 24, 2010


(HER GRADUATION WINGS ARE SHOWN IN THE BACKGROUND)

Page available since 7/95. Page last updated 1/7/2013

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On March 17, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, introduced a bill nominating the WASP for the Congressional Gold Medal. On March 17, Lois was interviewed by Allan Turner of the Houston Chronicle. He was accompanied by photojournalist Sharon Steinmann. Their article was published the next day.

On May 23, 2005, Lois was present at the El Paso Commissioners Court in El Paso, Texas, to accept the court's resolution recognizing all WASP for their contributions to WWII and Lois for her contributions to the El Paso community.   The following day the El Paso times reported the story.

Mom - 1943
TIME: Early 1943
PLACE: Houston, Texas
OCCASSION: Army Air Force flight training as part of the Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD), a training program initiated on September 15, 1942, by Jacqueline Cochran.   This group was preceeded on September 10, 1942, by the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) led by Nancy Love. On June 28, 1943, these two groups were combined into the Women AirForce Service Pilots (WASP).   Lois, along with 82 other women, had received a telegram from Nancy Love to join the WAFS but she declined at that time.
Fifinella

Fifinella , a female gremlin, was designed by Walt Disney in January 1943, and became the mascot for my mother and others.

SHE STARTED FLYING IN 1939 AFTER HER BROTHER CONVINCED HER TO PUT UP MOST OF THE MONEY TO BUY A SINGLE ENGINE TAYLORCRAFT.   ONE DAY SHE SET OUT ON A WEEKEND TRIP TO MEET JACKIE COCHRAN , DIRECTOR, WOMEN'S FLYING TRAINING, AT A RECRUITMENT MEETING FOR THE WOMENS FLYING TRAINING DETACHMENT (WFTD).   SHE TOLD THEM SHE WAS ONLY THERE TO MEET MISS COCHRAN BUT SHE AGREED TO TAKE THE PHYSICAL. BESIDES, NO NEED TO WORRY, SHE PROBABLY WOULDN'T PASS.   THE NEXT THING SHE KNEW SHE WAS IN HOUSTON FOR FLIGHT TRAINING. THE "WOOFTEDDIES" FINISHED THEIR TRAINING IN SWEETWATER , TEXAS, at Avenger Field.   While Lois was there, she received her banjo and played for her friends.

Upon graduation from basic flight training, Brooksie reported to Romulus Army Air Base in Romulus, Michgan where she was supposed to support the ferry command.   She and several other were only there overnight and were sent to Camp Davis in North Carolina for five months of tow target training.   Then she went to Liberty Field in Hinesville, Georgia, for radio control targeting training and then on to Biggs Army Air Field in El Paso, Texas, where she put her advanced training to work. After the WASPs, she became a certified flight instructor in El Paso.   Later she went back to teaching which she was doing before the WASPs. She retired from teaching and now lives with her son in Friendswood, Texas.

Biggs Army Air Base, 1944

THE BIGGS FIVE

The first five WASPs to report to Biggs Army Air Field
Mom - 1939
Mom - 1944

1939 - her first airplane,
a Taylorcraft.



1944 - Member of the 3rd Airforce:

A picture similar to this
can be found on page 563
of Sisters in the Sky,
Volumn II-The WASP.




new gif FLYING MILESTONES FOR LOIS, Part 1
EVENT DATES HOURS
First flight, age 24 June 7, 1939 0
Solo license January 17, 1940 30
Private license April 17, 1940 65
Commercial license July 11, 1941 314
WAFS minimum August 26, 1942 500
Joined WASP, primary training, Houston January 15, 1943 530
Basic Training March 29, 1943 577
Move to Sweetwater May 20, 1943 620
Advance Training June 3, 1943 645
WASP Graduation, on to Romulus, but detoured to Wash, D.C. July 3, 1943 696
Meeting with J. Cochran and Gen. Hap Arnold for special assignment ~July 7, 1943 696
Report to Camp Davis for Tow Target Training July 26, 1943 696
Report to Liberty Field for radio controlled flight training October 8, 1943 801
Report to Biggs Field, El Paso January 27, 1944 924
PQ-8 Accident January 30, 1944 927
A-24 belly landing May 19, 1944 1,114
Start Certified Flight Instructor training October 25, 1944 1,324
CFI Rating November 30, 1944 1,385
Last flight as a WASP December 6,1944 1,396
Based on pilot logs.

During a test flight, she was riding as the backup pilot for a radio controlled PQ-8, shown below, when without warning, she had to take control of the plane.   But it was too late and a ridge of dirt across the runway collapsed the nose gear and flipped the plane.   Her two front teeth were knocked out and she had to wait for almost an hour before the other two WASPs could return with help to get her out.   The writing on the picture says, "They chopped it up to get me out."
A-24 on its belly











PQ-8 wreck
When the landing gear would not lock down on her A-24, she was given permission to do a belly landing.   The only damage was the bent prop.   The maintenance crew had the plane flying the next day.   She was given a Letter of Commendation .

Crash braclet for Lois

Border Aviation Service uniform
After the WASPs were disbanded on December 20, 1944, my Mother and her best friend, Lois Hollingsworth Ziler , became flight instructors.   They both worked for Border Aviation Service in El Paso, Texas.

Border Aviation Service Business card

new gif FLYING MILESTONES FOR LOIS, Part 2
EVENT DATE
500 Hours As Civilian Instructor 9/19/1945
2,000 Total Hours 2/2/1946
1,000 Hours As Civilian Instructor 7/21/1946
1,500 Hours As Civilian Instructor 2/15/1947
Soloed Sam Hailey, future husband 3/3/1947
3,000 Total Hours 5/19/1947
Soloed father, Charles Brooks 6/19/1947
2,000 Hours As Civilian Instructor 8/25/1951
Last logged entry, over 3,600 hors 5/20/1978
Based on pilot logs.

Lois' Dad - PILOT




In June of 1947, a special moment was captured by the local paper, the El Paso Herald Post. Lois is shown with her oldest, 65, and youngest, 16, students.   Gardner Bride on the right, had just completed his first solo.   What was really special this day was that her oldest student was her father, Charles W. Brooks.












Sweetwater Walk of Fame


1994, Sweetwater Texas, 50th Anniversary and Reunion. She's pointing to her name on the Walk of Fame.





Lois is one of many WOMEN IN AVIATION . She and 1073 other women graduated from WASP flight school and went on to serve stateside during WWII.   They made it possible for more male pilots to serve overseas.   My mother was also lucky to live through it - 38 other WASPs lost their lives during the war. One of them was Bonnie Jean Welz..


On March 10, 2010, the WASP were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal
Andy presents CGM to Lois.
Obverse side of Congressional Gold Medal Reverse side of Congressional Gold Medal



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Andy-T6 This picture of me was taken just before a half hour flight as co-pilot in a North American AT-6 Trainer on November 6, 1994.   My most memorable moment was looking 'up' through the canopy at the sailboats on Galveston Bay as the pilot took us through some dive bombing maneuvers.

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For more about Lois.
( My most recent addition.)

TWU WASP Archives
WASP on the Web

Prepared by C. Andy Hailey, K.O.W (Kid Of a WASP)
The WAWG Blog

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