Fly Girls: The Full Story of WWII’s Unknown Superheroes

The Start of the War

When the United States joined World War II in December 1941, all pilots were called into active duty. But the problem was that these pilots couldn’t fight overseas until someone took over their duties at home. The government had created the Civilian Pilots Training Program (CPTP) a few years prior, which allowed men and a handful of women to gain flight experience.


Nancy Harkness Love on September 16th, 1942, holding her parachute. Photo by Everett Collection / Shutterstock

Their goal was to increase the number of civilian pilots, which would, in turn, prepare the US for military engagement. But these programs, which took place in universities and flight schools, were not part of the military. It wasn’t until two female aviation pioneers lobbied for a military-backed program that more women joined the ranks in the sky.

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