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'WASP' airplane set to fly in the High Sky Wing AIRSHO, will represent the history of women in aviation

The Women Airforce Service Pilots museum flew in the 1942 BT-13 airplane. As "WASP" celebrates its 80th anniversary, the airplane will help keep their legacy alive.

MIDLAND, Texas — The High Sky Wing AIRSHO is happening this weekend at the High Sky Wing Hangar in Midland-Odessa. Among all the aircraft that will be on display, a unique piece of history will take flight as well. 

The Women Airforce Service Pilots, also known as WASP, will be in attendance to showcase their impact on aviation. In a hangar full of airplanes, it was the one sitting outside that stole the show. 

A BT-13 airplane from the WASP Museum out in Sweetwater was flown in on Thursday afternoon, and it will actually be in flight and in action at the AIRSHO. It is certainly much more than just an airplane. 

“By it being a WASP airplane, it just shows ‘OK, women participated in this too, they were part of this too,’ and so there’s just that pride attached to our plane and we want the crowds out here to know about it," said Lisa Taylor, executive director at the WASP museum. 

“That’s a great portal to the past," John Harper, a historian at Chevron, said. "That’s a great opportunity for people to ask questions. ‘How did women train on the airplane? What did they do? How many hours did they spend in the air training on the airplane? How many scores of hours were spent in classroom work preparing for flying?’ So, again, it’s kind of that touchstone."

Harper called these women pioneers, and WASP service during World War II certainly paved the way in the eyes of Taylor. 

“When you see those women out there on the airfields and camouflage and airplanes – or even in a commercial airliner – it relates directly back to the WASP," Taylor said. "It’s just one generation opening doors for the next generation.” 

The impact these women made is unquestioned. 

“Today we take it for granted that there are women pilots," Bill Coombes, wing leader of High Sky Wing for the Commemorative Air Force, said. "That wasn’t always the case.” 

For the 1942 BT-13 airplane, Coombes knows its impact to the AIRSHO. 

“At the WASP museum they have four of the five types of airplanes that the WASP trained in, and having one like that here is very important to our AIRSHO," Coombes said. "It gives more credibility to women in aviation, which is one of the subthemes of this whole thing.” 

As WASP celebrates its 80th anniversary, their BT-13 airplane will help keep their legacy alive. 

“Women have just had this privilege only for 80 years when you think about the history of the U.S. and the history of the world, so that’s really special," Taylor said. 

Taylor mentioned that the women who joined WASP all had their pilot licenses in anticipation of getting an opportunity to one day fly and serve their country. 

Once again, the 1942 WASP BT-13 will be flown at the AIRSHO on Saturday and Sunday, and WASP will have a booth as well to educate people on a special piece of history. 

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