She's been flying professionally since 1957 and Wally Funk is a force. Her dream to become an astronaut was never met, but she paved the way for other women in aviation. At the age of 20, she got the call and volunteered to become 1 of 13 from the Mercury 13. The independent program from the early 1960's tested the viability of women's abilities to endure space travel. It was rigorous both mentally and physically. It was supported by NASA but not officially endorsed by the program.
She didn't stop there. Funk went on to become the first female air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, the first civilian flight instructor at Fort Still, Oklahoma and the first Federal Aviation Agency inspector. And at the age of 73, she put down the money to be one of the first people to fly into space via Virgin Galactic. That same year, you also learned how to fly a Black Hawk helicopter.
You can meet Funk at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor on March 3, 2018 at 2 pm. She is part of the daylong roster of events that honor women in aviation and aerospace from 10 am to 4 pm. For more information, go to PacificAviationMuseum.org.
Copyright 2018 Hawaii News Now.
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