WASP Betty Pfister

2018-7-26 Pfister

Betty started flying while a freshman at Bennington College in Vermont. She
graduated with a degree in Marine Biology and immediately went to Texas to enter
Class 43‐4. While there, her brother, a Navy pilot, was killed due to a catapult failure
on take‐off. She went home to be with her family for a month. When she returned, she was moved back to Class 43‐5.

After graduation she was stationed at New Castle Army Air Base, New Jersey and ferried aircraft, primarily training aircraft, for the Ferry Command. After WASP deactivation, she worked as a flight instructor and then flew as a co‐pilot for several nonscheduled
airlines, flying DC‐3 type aircraft. At on time she owned and raced a P‐39 Bell Aircobra.

She married and had three daughters. Her after‐WASP accomplishments in the world of
aviation are amazing. In 1963 she received her commercial rotorcraft rating, and in 1966 she planned and supervised the construction of the Aspen Valley Hospital Heliport. This was the first hospital heliport in Colorado.

In 1968 she founded the Pitkin County Air Rescue Group and remained president
until retiring in 1991. This volunteer organization of local pilots initiated searches
for downed aircraft in the Aspen area, which had saved 32 lives by 2001.

Betty was also instrumental in getting the FAA to provide and staff a control tower at
the Aspen Airport, even though the airport did not meet normal FAA tower criteria. After receiving her balloon rating, she organized the Snowmass Hot Air Balloon Races from 1976 to 1993. In 1973 and 1978 she was a member of the US Helicopter Team, competing in the World Championships.

She was the founder and first chapter member of the Aspen Chapter of the Ninety
Nines, International Women Pilots, and in 1984 was inducted into the Colorado
Aviation Hall of Fame. She has received many other awards and has memberships in many organizations. To me, her most important contributions to society
came after the WASP. I believe she would tell you that it was because of her WASP
experiences that she received the opportunities to accomplish so much in the world of aviation after the WASP were disbanded.

We honor you, Betty Pfister.

(#Repost @Wings Across America)

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