Jackie Cochran: Introduction (01:30)
Cochran was the first woman to win the Los Angeles to Cleveland Bendix race. She established the Women's Air Force Service Pilots, set a speed record for a propeller craft, was the first woman to break the sound barrier, and flew the F-104 Starfighter 1,429 mph.
Cochran's Beginnings (03:08)
Cochran was born Bessie Mae Pittman around the year 1906 in Florida. She was raised by foster parents, learned to style hair, chose a new name, and went to New York City. Cochran traveled with society ladies and met Floyd Odlum.
Cochran becomes a Pilot (02:43)
Cochran planned to start a cosmetics company and Odlum suggested she get a pilot's license. She began flying in 1932 and learned "the Navy way." Cochran participated in air races and exhibitions, setting dozens of records.
Cochran's Public Presence (03:26)
Cochran established Cochran Cosmetics, brought attention to the field of medical research in aviation, flew a Hudson Bomber for the British Ferry Command, and decided to train female pilots to help ferry aircraft during WWII.
Women's Air Force Service Pilots (02:42)
Cochran became a flight captain in the British Air Transport Auxiliary and established a female volunteer corps. In 1942, she returned to the U.S. and became the direct of W.A.S.P. in 1943.
Civilian Organization (02:55)
Cochran began training female pilots in Texas and faced opposition from Congress and Col. Oveta Culp Hobby; W.A.S.P. stayed civilian. Cochran convinced Hap Arnold to pay for the mass production of W.A.S.P. uniforms.
W.A.S.P. Performance and Dissolution (01:47)
The organization shuttled thousands of aircraft and proved female flying abilities. In 1944, Congress ordered W.A.S.P. disbanded and Cochran became a consultant to Arnold.
Post-War Career (04:27)
Cochran received the Distinguished Service Cross. She returned to racing and running Jackie Cochran Cosmetics. She pushed for an independent air force, became a test pilot, and set several records. Cochran was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1971; W.A.S.P. was officially recognized in 1977.
Credits: Legends of Air Power: Jackie Cochran (00:30)
Credits: Legends of Air Power: Jackie Cochran
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