Barbara Erickson London

Year Inducted: 
2005

Barbara Erickson London joined the Women’s Auxiliary Ferry Squadron (WAFS) and was soon promoted as in charge of the 6th Ferrying Group, Long Beach, California, where she commanded more than 60 women. She was the second (and sometimes third) woman to fly the P-51, P-38, B-17, C-47, and C-54. London was the only woman pilot to be awarded the Air Medal, for completing four transcontinental ferry flights in five days. In 1948, she accepted a commission as a Major, a position she fought successfully to keep. She served in the Reserves for 20 years.

After the war Barbara and her husband, Jack went into business with Bud and Betty Gillies. Betty Gillies, another WAFS/WASP, recruited Barbara to work with her on the Ninety-Nines’ All-Woman Transcontinental Air Race (AWTAR), better known as the Powder Puff Derby. Barbara went into aircraft sales in 1966.  Just when you think there isn’t anything in aviation that she hasn’t done, here is one final surprise. She was a “Rosie the Riveter” at Boeing working the B-17 line while she was in college. That makes her the only WASP to both build and fly the B-17! Barbara died in 2013.

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