#onthisday in 1944 the Troy Times published the following article about pilot Virginia Sweet from Quaker Springs.
Pretty Brunette Has Taught 375 Men How To Fly Planes
Air-minded students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found themselves a flying teacher who tips the scales at 107 and wears a bright red coat and black pumps while conducting classes at the Troy Airport. She is Virginia Sweet, an attractive brunette who as her students say, “really makes a plane sit up and talk.”
Teaching may be traditionally a woman’s profession but teaching flying, especially to young men in the technical profession, is an unusual job for a pretty girl. The young flying instructor has taught 400 persons how to fly and about 375 have been men. “Ginger,” as Miss Sweet is called, instructs ten members of the Rensselaer Flying Club, working all day Saturday and Sunday. “They’re above average students,” she said of the R.P.I, group. She was up in the Flying Club’s Taylorcraft with one of her students when she was visited last weekend. The student was attempting a landing while several of his classmates were kibitzing below. When the black and gold two seater landed, Miss Sweet got out, picked up the plane’s tail and turned It around. “It’s light,” she said modestly.
The slender girl has her hair braided around her head and wore a bright red princess-style coat. “The plane is heated and I always wear regular clothes when teaching,” Virginia said. She was teaching take-off and landing, devoting- one hour to each student. Her next student was freshman Arnold Pecker, was at the controls while Ginger was outside shouting “Switch off! . .. throttle closed! . . . brakes on!”Arnold was giving her the kind of attention which would make his other teachers green with envy.
Getting undivided attention from students almost twice her size is old stuff now for Miss Sweet, who has been teaching flying for years and was the first Schenectadian to enlist in the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots, the WASP. “Ginger’s” flying career was inspired by her grandfather and her reading of Amelia Earhart’s books when she was a youngster. When “Ginger” came home at the end of her sophomore year at Duke University, she found that her grandfather had a brand new car. She wanted to learn to drive it but he said no one was going to drive his new car. “Then I’m going to learn to fly instead,” Virginia retorted and did just that. During her 22 months in the WASP Virginia flew 28 different types of planes, completed fifty ferrying missions and numerous training light* which included hops as long as 3,000 miles and as many as 101/2 solo hours in a single day.
In addition to the Rensselaer boys, Ginger instructs a group from Siena College at the Albany Airport and holds an office job in Albany during the week. The pretty teacher is also a flight examiner the only one in this entire area who is a woman, appointed by the Civil Aeronautics Administration on the basis of experience and ability.
The Rensselaer students fully recognize this ability. As George Lincoln, Secretary of the Flying Club, put it: “Ginger teaches you just as much as the best male instructors and uses a much softer touch. When you do something wrong the doesn’t scream at you.”
The article through today’s eyes is sexist and it is symbolizes much to the treatment of women including pilots during this period. This link (follow to the end) will provide some background on Virginia Sweet, http://ift.tt/2nhBnjN