Organizations and Agencies

Air Combat Command. The Air Combat Command was activated on July 1, 1992, as part of the Department of Defense reorganization. The responsibilities of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) were divided between the Air Combat Command and the Air Mobility Command. The Air Combat Command controls the bulk of the Air Force’s fighting strength. An interesting publication on the ACC is ACC Bomber Triad: The B-52′s, B-1′s, and B-2′s of Air Combat Command (1999), by Don Logan. Contact information: (

Air Force, U.S. The branch of the U.S. military whose mission is to defend the country through control of the airspace above the United States as well as through the exploitation of space and space-based technologies. There are more than 700,000 personnel employed by the Air Force including 355,00 active-duty individuals. Of these personnel, approximately 12,000 are pilots. The four largest categories of pilots in the Air Force are fighter pilots, airlift pilots, tanker pilots, and bomberpilots. Air Force pilots are also utilized in training, special operations, and surveillance roles. The Air Force became a separate branch of the U.S. military in 1947. The Air Force Academy is located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. There are a number of topics on the Air Force and its key figures. Ron Dick has published a general history entitled American Eagles: A History of the United States Air Force (1997). Contact information: U.S. Air Force HQ, Randolph Air Force Base, TX 98150-4527 (

Air Transport Association (ATA). The Air Transport Association was founded in 1936 by a group of fourteen U.S. airlines and continues to be the main trade organization for the large U.S. airlines. ATA member airlines account for over 93 percent of the total passengers enplaned in the United States. The purpose of the ATA is to promote the air transportation industry, encourage safe and cost-effective operations, and advocate industry positions before governmental agencies and the public. Its Web site contains valuable information and statistics on air travel in the United States. The association also sponsors various events and forums throughout the country on aviation-related issues. Contact information: Air Transport Association of America, 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20004; Ph.: (202) 626-4000 (

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). AOPA was originally founded in 1939. Its mission is to keep general aviation safe, fun, and affordable. To this end, they work to support programs and legislation that encourage safety, aircraft ownership and manufacturing, and maintain general aviation access to landing facilities. The membership includes more than 360,000 pilots and aircraft owners. The International Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association was formed in 1962 and is associated with the International Civil Aviation Organization. This organization provides general aviation with a voice in matters of international aviation. Contact information: 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, MD 21201; Ph.: (301) 695-2000 (

Airports Council International. The Airports Council International was established in 1991 to help foster cooperation among airports. The council’s membership includes most major U.S. and international airports. Contact information: ACI, P.O. Box 16, 1215 Geneva 15 Airport, Geneva, Switzerland; Ph.: +41.22 7178585 (

Army pilots, U.S. The U.S. Army maintains a standing force of just under 500,000 soldiers with an additional 500,00 Army Reserve and 350,000 Army National Guard troops as backup in times of need. The Army maintains ten active divisions, which include the Eighty-second Airborne Division. The Army Air Corps was established in 1907 to explore the military use of aircraft and dirigibles. During World War I, the Army Air Corps proved the potential of aircraft in combat. However, it was during World War II that air power became a significant force in the conduct of war. In 1947, the Army Air Corps was officially split from the Army to become the United States Air Force. This did not end the involvement of the Army in aviation, as the Eighty-second Airborne, stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, can attest. An excellent topic on the Army Air Force is U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II: Combat Chronology (1991), by Kit Carter. Contact information: ( for recruitment information or ( for general information.

Black Sheep Squadron. The Black Sheep Squadron is the name of a unit of Marine pilots who fought during World War II. They were commanded by Major Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, who was credited with shooting down twenty-eight enemy aircraft, more than any other Marine pilot. The Black Sheep are famous for their offer to shoot down an enemy aircraft for every major-league baseball cap they received. Boyington was shot down in January, 1944, and spent the remainder of the war in a prison camp. An excellent topic on the Black Sheep Squadron is Once They Were Eagles: The Men of the Black Sheep Squadron (1986), by Frank Walton.

Blue Angels. This is the popular name for the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Team. The Blue Angels were created in 1946 by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, the Chief of Naval Operations, and have now performed their aerial show for more than 374 million people worldwide. They are currently based out of Forrest Sherman Field, Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida. Contact information: Navy Flight Demonstration Team, 390 San Carlos Road, Suite A, Pensacola, FL 32508; Ph.: (850) 452-BLUE (

Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics was established in 1991 by the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act to collect, analyze, and report data on national transportation and is housed in the Department of Transportation. Its Web site contains facts, figures, and statistics about various forms of transportation including aviation. Contact information: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 400 Seventh Street SW, Room 3430, Washington, DC 20590; Ph.: (800) 853-1351 (

Coast Guard pilots, U.S. The U.S. Coast Guard traces its beginnings back to the Revenue Cutter Service created in 1790. At this time, the service was part of the Department of the Treasury and was stationed primarily at U.S. ports of entry. With more than two hundred years of continuous service, the Coast Guard is the oldest, continuous seagoing service in the United States. Its mission today includes the regulation of marine and boating safety including certification and inspection as well as law enforcement and search and rescue activities. The Coast Guard was placed under the Department of Transportation when that department was created in 1966, but during times of war, the Coast Guard answers to the Secretary of the Navy. Coast Guard personnel have participated in all modern military actions. To carry out its various missions, the Coast Guard maintains a fleet of more than two hundred aircraft, including both fixed- and rotor-wing craft. There are several interesting topics on the Coast Guard, including Wonderful Flying Machines: A History of the U.S. Coast Guard Helicopter (1996), by Barrett Thomas Beard and History of the United States Coast Guard Aviation (1989), by Arthur Pearcy.

Contact information: U.S.Coast Guard, 4200 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 450,Arlington, VA 22203; Ph.: 1-800-GET-USCG ( Council on Aviation Accreditation (CAA). The Council began in 1974 as the Academic Standards Committee of the University Aviation Association. It adopted its present name in 1988 and issued the Academic Standards Manual for Aviation Programs. The CAA is the main body accrediting universities and schools with programs related to aviation. Contact information:

CAA, 3410 Skyway Drive, Auburn, AL 36830; Ph.:(934) 844-2432 ( Department of Transportation (DOT). The Department of Transportation is an executive department of the U.S. government. It was established by the Department of Transportation Act of 1966 for the purpose of developing national transportation policies and programs. The Coast Guard, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration, and several other operating units are all housed under the Department. An excellent history of the department is U.S. Department of Transportation: A Reference History (1998), by Donald R. Whitnah. Contact information: 400 Seventh

Street SW, Washington, DC 20590; Ph.: (202) 3664000 (

Eurocontrol. The European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation was founded in 1960 to oversee air traffic control in the upper airspace of its member nations. It currently has thirty European members. One of the key concerns for the organization is airspace congestion in Europe and the consequent flight delay this causes at European airports. Contact information: Headquarters-Brussels, Rue de la Fusee 96, B-1130, Brussels, Belgium; Ph.: +32.2.729-9011 (www.euro

European Commission-Directorate of Energy and Transportation. This is the directorate of the European Union that deals with regulatory issues relating to aviation and aerospace. The Commission itself is the administrative arm of the European Union. The Web site contains information on the issues relating to aviation matters such as environmental restrictions, safety, and foreign access. The Directorate of Competition oversees issues of mergers and acquisitions in the aviation and aerospace industries. Contact information: ( A directory of other locations is available at this site.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA is the agency of the U.S. government charged with controlling the use of U.S. airspace. Its responsibilities include the regulation of air commerce, certification of aircraft, development and operation of air traffic control and air navigation, and the promotion of a national system of airports. The Federal Aviation Agency was created in 1958 to promote air safety and changed its name to the Federal Aviation Administration in 1967 when it became part of the Department of Transportation. The FAA Web site contains information on aviation statistics as well as the database on aviation safety. There are a number of publications about the FAA. Two examining the historical development of the FAA are Flight Check: The Story of FAA Flight Inspection (1993), by Scott A. Thompson; Safe, Separated, and Soaring: A History of Federal Civil Aviation Policy, 1961-1972 (1980), by Richard J. Kent; and Troubled Passage: The FAA During the Nixon-Ford Term 1973-1977 (1987), by Edmund Preston. Contact information: 800 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20591; Ph.:(800) 322-7873 (

Flying Tigers. This is the popular name for the American Volunteer Group that served with the Chinese Air Force under Claire Chennault. Chennault joined the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War I and pioneered aviation pursuit tactics as well as developing the idea of the paratrooper. He resigned from the Army in 1937 and became the aviation advisor to the Chinese government. The pilots fought in both China and Burma with the Chinese forces under the command of Chiang Kai-shek. The Flying Tigers became famous for their defense of the Burma Road, a Chinese supply route from India. One of the most famous pilots associated with the Flying Tigers was “Pappy” Boyington, who later went on to command the Black Sheep Squadron. Chennault was recalled to American service during World War II and given the rank of brigadier general. The Flying Tigers were also inducted into the regular U.S. military in July, 1942. After World War II, Chennault returned to China to organize a commercial airline. His autobiography, Way of a Fighter, was published in 1949. Other topics on the Flying Tigers include Flying Tigers: Claire Chennault and the American Volunteer Group (1991), by Daniel Ford, and Chennault: Giving Wings to the Tigers (1987), by Martha Byrd. Contact information: (

International Air Transport Association (IATA). Prior to the outbreak of World War II in Europe, IATA was concerned solely with aviation issues in Europe. Following the end of the war, IATA expanded worldwide to serve its mission of promoting safe, economical international transport through the collaboration among the world’s airlines and with the newly created International Civil Aviation Organization. IATA membership is composed of international air carriers. In 1979, the U.S. government called on IATA to show that it was not an illegal cartel subject to U.S. antitrust law. As a result, U.S. airlines were required to withdraw from the IATA traffic conferences that set international fares. Today, IATA focuses mainly on improving aviation safety through education and training. Its Web site contains valuable information on international travel as well as links to other aviation sites and a listing of the IATA’s educational programs and materials. The IATA published its history in IATA, The First Six Decades: The Development ofthe Air Transport Industry Since 1919 (1986). Contact information: IATA, Route de l’Aeroport, P.O. Box 672, 1215 Geneva 15 Airport, Geneva, Switzerland; Ph.: +41 22 799 25 25 (www

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The International Civil Aviation Organization was born in 1944 at what has come to be called the Chicago Convention. The Chicago Convention met in early 1944 to discuss the post-war future of international aviation. The ICAO did not officially come into existence until 1947, when it was ratified by twenty-six nations. At that time, it also became a specialized agency of the newly created United Nations. Membership is open to representatives from all nations involved in international aviation. The ICAO’s mission is to develop the principles and techniques of air navigation and transportation including the development of air traffic control systems, airports, and safety rules and procedures. In 1991, Eugene Sochor published a topic on the early history and mission of the ICAO, entitled The Politics of International Aviation. The topic is a fascinating look at the political forces that have shaped international aviation and the organizations that oversee them. Contact information: International Civil Aviation Organization, Public Information Office, 1000 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3A 2R2 ( International Women’s Air and Space Museum. The museum was established in 1986 to celebrate the achievements of women in aviation. The museum houses historical artifacts and displays detailing the contributions of women, such as Katherine Wright, the sister of Wilbur and Orville Wright; Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly across the Atlantic; and Valentina

Tereshkova, the first woman in space. Contact information: International Women’s Air and Space Museum, Burke Lakefront Airport, 1501 North Marginal Road, Cleveland, OH 44114; Ph.: (216) 623-1111 (www

Johnson Space Center. The Johnson Space Center was established in 1961 and continues to be the main NASA center for the selection and training of astronauts for the U.S. space program. Located in Houston, Texas, the center is open to the public for tours of its facilities. A good publication on air and space museums is Kitty Hawk to NASA: A Guide to U.S. Air and Space Museums and Exhibits (1991), by Michael Morlan. Contact information: Johnson Space Center, 2101 BASAL Road 1, Clear Lake, TX; Ph.: (281) 483-0123 (www

Kennedy Space Center. The Kennedy Space Center is located at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and is the main launch site for the crewed space shuttle program as well as the launch of uncrewed vehicles. The center is open to the public for tours of its facilities as well as viewing of space shuttle launches. The Web site contains information on the facilities and launch schedule. A history of the Kennedy Space Center is contained in Gateway to the Moon: Building the Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex (2001), by Charles D. Benson and William B. Faherty. A good general publication on air and space museums is Kitty Hawk to NASA: A Guide to U.S. Air and Space Museums and Exhibits (1991), by Michael Morlan. Contact information: Spaceport, Kennedy Space Center, FL 32897; Ph.: (321) 449-4400 (

Luftwaffe. Luftwaffe literally means “air weapon” in German and is the popular name for the German air force. The Luftwaffe was officially formed in 1935, although it had existed in secret since 1919, when the Treaty of Versailles ended World War I with a provision banning Germany from having an air force. During its years of secrecy, the Luftwaffe experimented with a number of aviation innovations, which were put to the test during World War II. Although the Allied forces had numerical superiority over the Luftwaffe, the Luftwaffe achieved some impressive victories during the war. Under the command of Hermann Goring, the Luftwaffe was also in charge of Germany’s antiaircraft defenses. There are numerous topics and Web sites dedicated to the history, insignia, and aircraft of the Luftwaffe. Two recent publications are Luftwaffe BomberAces: Men, Machines, and Methods (2001), by Mike Spiek, and Luftwaffe Album: Fighters and Bombers of the German Air Force, 1933-1945 (1999), by Joachim Dressel.

Marine pilots, U.S. The U.S. Marine Corps is composed of 174,000 active-duty and 42,000 reserve personnel. The Marines are capable of conducting a number of missions, including amphibious warfare, rapid deployment, and land support for the U.S. Navy. The Marine Corps is organized into three divisions and three air wings. The main combat force of each division is the Marine Expeditionary Unit, which is a self-contained naval, air, and ground task force capable of rapid response. Only about thirty countries in the world maintain a marine corps, and only the U.S. Marine Corps is a truly independent fighting force. The Continental Congress authorized the formation of two battalions of marines in 1775. The Marines were reactivated in 1798. The first Marine aviation missions were flown in support of the Marine Corps troops in World War I. Marine Corps officers earn their commissions at either the United States Naval Academy, Officer Candidate School or from a university offering a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). Marine aviators attend the Aviation Officer Candidate School at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida. Marine aviators fly either helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft and are mostly based off of the Navy’s twelve aircraft carriers. A good history of the U.S. Marines is found in History of the U.S. Marines (1994), by Jack Murphy. Contact information: (

National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics was the predecessor of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It was created in 1915, twelve years after the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk. Its mission was to direct and supervise the scientific study of the problems of flight. The NACA was disbanded in 1958. Frank W. Anderson, Jr. wrote a history of NACA called Orders ofMagnitude: A History of NACA and NASA (1976). Information on some of its actions and recommendations is available at (

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was established in 1958 to conduct research into problems of flight within and outside the earth’s atmosphere. This has included research activities relating to the development and design of space and atmospheric vehicles as well the exploration of space using crewed and uncrewed craft. Recent publications on NASA include Infinite Journey: Eyewitness Accounts of NASA and the Age of Space (2000), by William F. Burrows, and NASA and the Space Industry (1999), by Joan Lisa Bromberg. Contact information: NASA HQ, 300 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20546 (www

National Air and Space Museum. The Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum contains the largest collection of historic air and spacecraft in the world, including the 1903 Wright Flyer, the Spirit of St. Louis, and the Apollo 11 Command Module. The museum also has many more artifacts housed at the Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration and Storage Facility in Suitland, Maryland. An excellent publication on air and space museums is Kitty Hawk to NASA: A Guide to U.S. Air and Space Museums and Exhibits (1991), by Michael Morlan. The Museum itself has published a guide called Aircraft ofthe National Air and Space Museum (1991). Contact information: National Air and Space Museum, Seventh and Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20560; Ph.: (202) 357-2700 (

National Business Aircraft Association (NBAA). This organization is the principle representative of the business aviation industry before Congress, the U.S. government, and its regulatory agencies. The NBAA was established in 1947 to increase the safety and efficiency of business aviation. The NBAA represents more than 4,700 member companies and provides technical expertise, information, and educational forums. Recently, the NBAA celebrated its fiftieth anniversary by publishing NBAA’s Tribute to Business Aviation (1997), by Robert A. Searles and Robert B. Parke. Contact information: NBAA, 1200 Eighteenth Street SW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036; Ph.: (202) 783-9000 (www

National Mediation Board. The National Mediation Board is composed of three individuals appointed by the U.S. president. Its primary responsibility is to mediate labor disputes under the Railway Labor Act involving rates of pay, changes in work rules, or changes in working condition when the parties involved have failed to reach a settlement. U.S. airlines are covered underthisact. Contact information: 1301K Street NW, Washington, DC 20572; Ph.: (202) 692-5019 (www

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). The National Transportation Safety Board is an autonomous agency of the U.S. government established in 1975. It investigates transportation accidents and makes recommendations to both government agencies and the transportation industry on safety measures and practices. The NTSB’s Web site contains information on accident investigation and recommendations, as well as general transportation information. Contact information: 490 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Washington, DC 20594; Ph.: (202) 314-6000 (

Navy pilots, U.S. The history of the navy dates back to the Continental Navy, organized in 1775 to attack British lines of communication and seize transport ships. The Continental Navy was disbanded after the Revolutionary War. In 1798, the United States Navy was officially created by an act of Congress. Currently, the U.S. Navy has about 380,000 active-duty personnel, including a number of pilots. These pilots either serve on one of the Navy’s twelve aircraft carriers or at one of the land-based naval air stations that support ocean deployment. Each aircraft carrier is capable of supporting 85 to 90 aircraft including both fixed-wing and rotor craft. The land-based forces include aircraft designed to detect and destroy submarines, track surface ships, transport troops and supplies, and refuel aircraft. The Navy maintains a fleet of approximately 6,000 aircraft. Most naval pilots either attended the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis or one of the ROTC programs located on civilian U.S. campuses. Pilots then attend the Aviation Officer Candidates School at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida. An interesting publication on the Navy is History of the Navy (1992), by Robert William Love. Contact information: (

Ninety-nines. This is the popular name for the International Organization of Women Pilots, which was founded in 1929. The first president of the organization was the famous aviator Amelia Earhart, the famous female aviator who disappeared over the Pacific during an attempt to fly around the world. The organization she first headed now has more than 6,500 members worldwide and continues to promote aviation and careers for women in aviation-related fields. The Ninety-nines published History of the 99′s (1997). Contact information: The 99′s, Box 965, 7100 Terminal Drive, Oklahoma City, OK 73159; Ph.: (800) 994-1929 (

Regional Airline Association. The Regional Airline Association is a U.S. organization of regional air carriers similar to the Air Transport Association. Most regional carriers in the U.S. are members. The association’s Web site and publications contain valuable information on the operating statistics of the regional airline industry including major regional airports, total enplaned passengers, and average departures. Contact information:

Regional Airline Association, 1200 Nineteenth Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036; Ph.: (202) 8571170 (

Royal Air Force (RAF). The history of the Royal Air Force dates back to the formation of the Royal Flying Corp (RFC) in 1912. Two years later the naval wing of the flying corps separated from the RFC. Conflict in the United Kingdom over aviation resources led to the passage of a bill creating the air force in April, 1918. The Royal Air Force (RAF) became the first independent air force in the world. The RAF distinguished themselves during the Battle of Britain in World War II. The Battle of Britain was the first major campaign to be fought between two air forces. The integrated air defense system utilized by the RAF helped to insure the RAF’s ultimate success over the German Luftwaffe. The two main aircraft flownby the RAF during this period were the Hurricane and the Spitfire, which continue to be classic collectibles and favorites at air shows around the world. The efforts of the RAF during World War II have been chronicled in numerous topics and movies. The RAF continues its mission to protect and defend the United Kingdom and has participated in major actions in the Arabian Gulf and Eastern Europe. There are numerous topics on the RAF and the Battle of Britain, including Spitfire: Flying Legend (1996), by John Dibbs; Eagle Squadron: Yanks in the RAF, 1940-1942 (1992), by Vern Haugland; and Nation Alone: The Battle of Britain, 1940 (1989), by Arthur Ward. Contact information: Royal Air Force, Aberdeen AFCO, 63 Belmont Street, Aberdeen, UK, AB101JS; Ph.: 0-1224 6402251 (

Soaring Society of America. The Soaring Society was established in 1932 to promote soaring and now contains more than 16,000 members worldwide. In addition to educational and informational activities, they sponsor a national soaring contest each year. Contact information: Soaring Society of America, P.O. Box 2100, Hobbs, NM 88241; Ph.: (505) 392-1177 (

Strategic Air Command (SAC). The Strategic Air Command was established in 1946 to organize, train, equip, administer, and prepare the strategic air forces for combat. Until 1992, when it was replaced in the Department of Defense reorganization by the Air Combat Command and the Air Mobility Command, SAC controlled most U.S. nuclear weapons and played a key role in the U.S. nuclear strategy. The so-called three legs of the nuclear defense strategy included land-based, bomber-based, and submarine-based nuclear weapons. SAC was officially in command of the first two legs. The Strategic Air Command was headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States reviewed its overall strategy in regard to military strength and deployment. This review led to the Department of Defense reorganization that replaced SAC. Several recent publications on SAC are SAC: Evolution and Consolidation of Nuclear Forces, 1945-1955 (1996), by William S. Borgiasz, and Peace Is Our Mission: Alert Operations of the Strategic Air Command, 1957-1991 (1992). Tactical Air Command (TAC). The Tactical Air Command was also replaced in 1992 by the Department of Defense reorganization plan. TAC was responsible for the non-nuclear forces within the department of defense. An interesting topic on the aircraft in TAC is TAC Fighters (1991), by Robert F. Dorr and Jim Benson.

Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds is the popular name for the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, which was established in 1953. In 1956, the Thunderbirds moved to their current home at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Over the years, they have performed their aerial show for more than 280 million viewers worldwide. Two topics on the Thunderbirds are Summer of Thunder (1993), by Brian Shul, and Diamond in the Sky: A Pictorial History of the United States Air Force Thun-derbirds (1984), by Carol Knotts and Peter Moore. Contact information: USAF Air Demonstration

Squadron, Box 9733, Nellis AFB, NV 89191 (

Tuskegee Airmen. This is the popular name for a group of black aviators who served in World War II. They are named for the location of the Army airfield where they trained. Of the initial trainees, 450 went on to serve in the military under the command of Benjamin Davis, Jr. In 1944, they joined with the 100th, 301st and 302nd military units to form the 332 Fighter Group. Several recent publications on the Airmen include Black Knights: The Story of the Tuskegee Airmen (2001), by Lynn Homan, and Red Tails, Black Wings: The Men of America’s Black Air Force (1997), by John Holway. Contact information: Tuskegee Airmen, 1501 Lee Highway, Suite 130, Arlington, VA 22209.

U.S. Space and Rocket Center. The Space and Rocket Center is located in Huntsville, Alabama, near the Marshall Space Flight Center. The Center contains one of the largest collections of rockets in the world as well as actual vehicles from both the U.S. and Russian space programs. Other attractions include tours of the Mar- shall Space Flight Center, thrill rides simulating weightlessness, and an IMAX theater. The Center also sponsors a space camp for young adults each summer. A good publication on air and space museums is Kitty Hawk to NASA: A Guide to U.S. Air and Space Museums and Exhibits (1991), by Michael Morlan. Contact information: U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Interstate 565, Huntsville, AL 35811 ( or Whirly-Girls. The Whirly-Girls is the popular name for the organization of International Women Helicopter Pi-lots. It was founded in April, 1955, to promote helicopter aviation, foster safety, and encourage the advancement of women in helicopter aviation. There are now more than 1,000 members worldwide. The organization sponsors a number of scholarships for women interested in starting or furthering their helicopter experience. A recent publication on the Whirly-Girls is Hovering: The History of the Whirly-Girls, International Women Helicopter Pilots (1994), by Henry M. Holden. This topic also contains a brief history of many of the first 1,000 members. Contact information: Whirly-Girls Inc., P.O. Box 48585, Houston, TX 77058; Ph.: (713) 474-3932.

Women in Aviation International. This organization began in 1990 and was formally established in 1994 to encourage women to seek career opportunities in aviation and aviation-related fields. There are currently more than 5,500 members worldwide. In addition to a magazine and career fair held at the organization’s annual meeting, the Women in Aviation International have been successful in awarding and helping to create a number of scholarships for women interested in flight training. Contact information: WAI HQ Office, 101 Corsair Drive, Suite 101, Daytona Beach, FL 32114;

Ph.: (904) 226-7996 (

Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs). The WASPs represent the first women to serve as military pilots. During World War II, 1,830 women were accepted into the U.S. Army Air Force and 38 of these women lost their lives in service. While they were considered civilian employees during the war, the Secretary of the Air Force granted them veteran status in 1979. There have been numerous articles and topics on the WASPs including Clipped Wings: The Rise and Fall of the Women Air Force Service Pilots ofWorld War II (1998), by M. Merryman, and WASPs: Women Air Force Service Pilots of World War II (1994), by Vera S. Williams.

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