This site is dedicated to the memory of the American women flyers who volunteered to ferry aircraft for the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy in wartime Great Britain, from 1942-45.
This site tells the story of an important episode in history of World War II, in the history of aviation and in the progress of women.
These American women, together with American men flyers, joined with their British counterparts, and with flyers from many other nations to form the ATA. This "Legion of the Air," as it came to be known, performed a vital function in delivering planes from factories to squadrons, shuttling planes back for repairs, and providing transportation and communications in wartime Britain. Equally as important, the work of the ATA freed up pilots for combat duties.
This project is an initiative of Ann Wood-Kelly, herself a former ATA pilot, and is the result of her desire to keep the flame alive for the first women to fly military aircraft. Ann Wood-Kelly, in turn, was inspired by the efforts of Jane Plant Spencer, who since 1980 has struggled to keep this important story of World War II alive, through her ATA History Project. She has been a Technical writer with experience in research. She interested the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University, California. She also contacted The Imperial War Museum, London. Both were helpful but offered no funding which was necessary. She then developed the ATA History Project, a do-it-yourself primer.
The Hoover Institution offered to compile and archive the data collected. Jane sent her ATA memorabilia to Hoover Archives.
Ann Wood-Kelly (AWK) visited Hoover and met with Elena Danielson, their Archivist, and in September 2000 sent her ATA memorabilia to Elena. Copies went as well to the Texas Women's University, the 99's in Oklahoma City, Captain Poad at the Heritage Foundation, Maidenhead, England, and her College, D'Youville in Buffalo, N.Y.
No one else responded to Jane's request. In July 2001 (20 years later), when ATA member Suzan Ford de Florez died, AWK decided to act. Soon thereafter AWK decided to create a website to honor the memory of Suzan and the other US female ATA members, whom she could reach on email, and were recruited by Jacqueline Cochran.
And so was born the website airtransportaux.com.
When completed it will contain:
- Home page
- List of ATA women recruited by Jacqueline Cochran verified by Jacque Boyd
- Histories, by Lettice Curtis and Mary Lambtos
- Some early USA pilots by Margaret Warren
- The first eight British women who opened the door, plus later recruits by Alan Long
- ATA biographies and pictures of more J.C. ladies living, or biographies and pictures supplied from the families
- ATA biographies of the J.C. group deceased by Jacque Boyd
- ATA-USA men (3) by Ed Heering
- List of ATA books
- Links to sites of interest to ATA'ers