As part of the Aviation Programâ€™s contribution to USUâ€™s Year of the Woman, we are hosting Wally Funk on March 19th as the CAAS Deanâ€™s Spring Seminar.
In 1961, Wally Funk was among the Mercury 13, the first group of American pilots to pass the Woman in Space program. Wally sailed through a series of rigorous physical and mental tests, with one of her scores beating all the male Mercury 7 astronauts’, including John Glenn’s, the first American in orbit. But just one week before the final phase of training, the program was abruptly cancelled. A combination of politics and prejudice meant that none of the women ever flew into space. Undeterred, Wally went on to become America’s first female aviation safety inspector, though her dream of being an astronaut never dimmed. She still flies as an instructor pilot in Texas.
Don’t let her snow white hair fool you. She is energetic, passionate about aviation, space and the future of women in aviation.
Wally is living history.