Monday, November 26, 2012

Arvada WASP pilot recaptures legacy of Fifinella with biplane flight

From Denver Post:  Arvada WASP pilot recaptures legacy of Fifinella with biplane flight  Read more: Arvada WASP pilot recaptures legacy of Fifinella with biplane flight
Arvada WASP pilot recaptures legacy of Fifinella with biplane flight

Read more: Arvada WASP pilot recaptures legacy of Fifinella with biplane flight - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_21968958/arvada-wasp-pilot-recaptures-legacy-fifinella-biplane-flight#ixzz2DLu2OMJ2
Read The Denver Post's Terms of Use of its content: http://www.denverpost.com/termsofuse 
In this Google age, it’s not hard to find them.
Just type in Air Transport Auxiliary and the black-and-white faces begin to appear. They were the ambitious women pilots who flew in the face of gender expectations by taking on dangerous aviation missions during the Second World War.
They are fascinating characters and have long captured the imagination of author Garry Ryan, a former school teacher best known for his series of mystery novels featuring gay protagonist Detective Lane.
Long before Lane began patrolling the mean streets of Calgary, Ryan had toyed with the idea of a book featuring a defiant female pilot putting in time for the Air Transit Auxiliary in England.
“It was based on the idea that these young women came all over the world to fly for the ATA,” says Ryan, in an interview from his Calgary home. “So I thought about what sort of young woman would go there and how she would be received and the troubles she would face, especially if she was a better pilot than most of the men.”
So Sharon Lacey was born. In Blackbirds, which is the first of at least three novels that Ryan has planned for the character, she is introduced as a young pilot who travels from her home in Canada to England in 1940 in search of her estranged father. She finds herself involved with the Auxiliary, a British wartime organization made up of civilians that helped ferry military aircraft to various delivery points.
Lacey eventually finds herself enlisted to by the British to help fend of an air attack by the Germans.
The character is not based on a real person, per se. But Ryan knew what broad-stroke traits he wanted, even if the models he found came from a different era.
“My daughter is like that and I watched her grow up and some of her friends are like that,” he says. “ It came from those places ... They just do what needs to be done. They see what the job is and they get the job done. In wartime, that kind of ability or personality is often needed. It’s not always appreciated, but needed.”
Historically, these women flew heavy bombers and fighters and, when the war ended, were cast aside, Ryan said.
“After the war they were shut down and apparently some of them killed themselves because they couldn’t fly,” Ryan said. “The Russians actually had at least two women who were aces and flew for the Russian air force. But for a lot of these stories, I really had to dig for them.”
Ryan, 58, retired in 2009 after a long career teaching creative writing and other subjects to junior high and high-school students. Sharon Lacey’s outsider status follows a literary pattern of sorts for Ryan. It was during his time in Calgary schools that the idea dawned on him to create a gay protagonist to head a series of Calgary-based mysteries. After seeing two female students in his class bullied because they were gay, he decided to create a heroic gay character. Since then, the driven one-named Detective Lane has gone on to be the hero of five novels, including last year’s Malabarista.
But the idea for Sharon Lacey actually predates the Detective Lane series. Ryan had shelved the book for awhile, but when he found the need for some distraction between Calgary mysteries he returned to the story.
It was a natural fit. Ryan has been a Second World War and aviation buff since he was a kid growing up in Glendale. So immersing himself in the copious amounts of research historical fiction tends to require was a treat, he says. Again, Google came in handy.
“You can actually Google some of the aircraft that she flew and it will almost sit you in the cockpit,” he said. “I got to the air shows, to see what the old aircraft were like and what they sounded like. For me, that’s just really fascinating stuff.”
The research certainly hasn’t seemed to slow down Ryan’s pace. He has already finished three more Lane mysteries and is working on a fourth, which was inspired by a recent trip to Cuba. He’s also busy penning two sequels to Blackbirds.
“I just keep going,” he said. “It’s kind of a compulsion I think.


Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Heroic+female+pilots+fires+imagination+Calgary+novelist+Garry+Ryan/7527509/story.html#ixzz2DLtqGcPL


Lucile Wise, 92, awaits pilot Chad Graves as the two prepare to fly in a 1942 Boeing-Stearman biplane at Centennial Airport. Wise, with the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II, was among the first women to fly military aircraft. This year, they will be honored at the 10th annual gala of Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum on Dec. 21. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)


Read more: Arvada WASP pilot recaptures legacy of Fifinella with biplane flight - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_21968958/arvada-wasp-pilot-recaptures-legacy-fifinella-biplane-flight#ixzz2DLulAAMs
Read The Denver Post's Terms of Use of its content: http://www.denverpost.com/termsofuse


The first female military pilots in U.S. history — women including Lucile Wise of Arvada — signed up during World War II and trained to fly bombers and fighters such as the legendary P-51 Mustang.
The U.S. Army Air Forces didn't have enough pilots, so women were recruited for military flying jobs stateside to free up men to fly combat missions overseas.

Seventy years after her pilot training, Wise strapped herself into the open cockpit of a 1942 Boeing-Stearman biplane, used as a military trainer during the war.

The 92-year-old wore goggles, a headset and a borrowed leather bomber jacket. Excited, she grinned as the pilot fired up the engine.


When the canary biplane roarded down the runway, a former Air Force pilot watched in awe.

"Fifinella flies again," said Greg Anderson, president and chief executive of Wings Over the Rockies, as the plane rose into the warm afternoon sky earlier this week. "The legacy lives on."

Fifinella — a female gremlin designed by Walt Disney that appeared in many World War II cartoons — was the official mascot of the Women Airforce Service Pilots. Her image appeared on the noses of bombers and on the flight jackets of 1,074 women, including Wise.

"These ladies were way ahead of their time," he said. "Individually, and as a group, they have a piece of history we will never be able to experience. They paved the way and proved it could be done."

These women will be honored at the 10th annual gala of Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum on Dec. 21, which will feature many WASP pilots, including seven who live in Colorado. The traveling exhibit, "Fly Girls of WWII," runs through March at the museum.

In an era when the dominant role for women was to stay at home serving as wives and mothers, the opportunity to train as military pilots opened a door to women like Wise, who had dropped out of Colorado Women's College and was working in Wichita.

"We all wanted to do something to help the war effort. All my women friends were joining the military," Wise said. "I did it for a lark, to add a little excitement to my life."

She took her first flying lesson Dec. 6, 1941 — the day before the attack on Pearl Harbor — because someone had taken her up in a Piper Cub.

Once behind the controls, Wise was hooked.

By 1943, Jackie Cochran — a beautician who became America's top female pilot — had established the WASPs at the request of President Franklin Roosevelt.

More than 25,000 women applied to the program, and fewer than 1,900 were accepted into the training program at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas.

Wise's classmates included Gertrude "Tommy" Tompkins, whose fighter went down along the California coast soon after takeoff Oct. 26, 1944, and has never been found.

"We never dwelled on it," said Wise. "We were too busy."

The pilots flew a total of 60 million miles in two years. Thirty-eight women died during their service, an accident rate comparable to male pilots doing the same job.

WASPs flew military planes from factories to bases, trained male pilots, towed targets for gunnery practices and tested planes.

Two WASPs were also used to convince male pilots it was safe to fly the B-29. Men resisted flying the new heavy bomber because it hadn't received rigorous testing, and its engines tended to catch fire.

Col. Paul Tibbets recruited two WASPs to serve as demo pilots, and after three days of training, the women powered up the four-engine bomber and ferried around the men.

"They flew it, no problem," said Brig. Gen. Wilma Vaught, one of the most decorated women in military history, now president of the board of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation. "They thought it was great. That ended the (men's) fear of flying that plane."

The WASPs were disbanded in late 1944, receiving a letter of thanks from Henry Arnold, commanding general of the Army Air Forces.

The war had reached a point "when your services are no longer needed," he said. "The situation is that if you continue in service, you will be replacing instead of releasing our young men."

Most WASPs returned to traditional roles.

"I didn't know what I was going to do. I felt lost," Wise said.

Although the women had been promised that they would be adopted into the military, that never happened. Bills in Congress to militarize the WASPs hit fierce opposition, so they were disbanded with no military benefits and "largely ignored by the U.S. government for more than 30 years," according to the teacher guide of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.

Wise, who married and raised two children with her husband in Washington, D.C., got fired up in the late 1970s when the Air Force announced that women would be allowed to become military pilots for the first time.

"We got very annoyed," said Wise of the WASPs, who realized they had been totally forgotten by history. "We got organized."

Wise fought for their rights by volunteering in a tiny office at the Army Navy Club in Washington, D.C.

Their demand to be recognized as military veterans faced a united front of tough opponents, including the Veterans Administration, President Jimmy Carter, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

"Those groups had so much power, and they feared this would open the floodgates," said Wise.

If the WASPs were granted military status, opponents feared, then the other civilian organizations that worked in the war effort would also demand military recognition.

But the WASPs refused to quit, calling their congresspersons and talking to supportive reporters. They gained some key advocates.

"The Pentagon testified in our favor," said Wise. "It was pretty unusual for them to take a position opposite the White House."

Col. Bruce Arnold, the son of commanding Gen. Henry Arnold, also fought for them, as did Sen. Barry Goldwater, himself a World War II pilot.

In 1977, the House and Senate passed a bill that gave WASPs military status and veterans benefits.

And in 2010, the WASPs received the Congressional Gold Medal from President Barack Obama.

"I've been fortunate enough to know a number of WASPs," said Vaught. "They're a breed among themselves. They have a spirit of adventure that just won't quit."

Colleen O'Connor: 303-954-1083, coconnor@denverpost.com or twitter.com/coconnordp

Celebrating wasps

To encourage girls to learn more about the history of WASPs, admission to "Fly Girls of WWII" at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum is free to girls younger than 17 through Dec. 31.

The exhibition, which debuted at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation in Washington, includes a 26-foot WASP timeline, uniformed mannequins, a video, hundreds of photos, WASP memorabilia, and a photo mosaic featuring the face of every WASP.

The gala honoring the WASPs will be at Wings Over the Rockies, 7711 East Academy Boulevard in Denver, Dec. 21 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $200 for members, $250 for nonmembers. For more information, call 303-360-5360 x 110.

In this Google age, it’s not hard to find them.
Just type in Air Transport Auxiliary and the black-and-white faces begin to appear. They were the ambitious women pilots who flew in the face of gender expectations by taking on dangerous aviation missions during the Second World War.
They are fascinating characters and have long captured the imagination of author Garry Ryan, a former school teacher best known for his series of mystery novels featuring gay protagonist Detective Lane.
Long before Lane began patrolling the mean streets of Calgary, Ryan had toyed with the idea of a book featuring a defiant female pilot putting in time for the Air Transit Auxiliary in England.
“It was based on the idea that these young women came all over the world to fly for the ATA,” says Ryan, in an interview from his Calgary home. “So I thought about what sort of young woman would go there and how she would be received and the troubles she would face, especially if she was a better pilot than most of the men.”
So Sharon Lacey was born. In Blackbirds, which is the first of at least three novels that Ryan has planned for the character, she is introduced as a young pilot who travels from her home in Canada to England in 1940 in search of her estranged father. She finds herself involved with the Auxiliary, a British wartime organization made up of civilians that helped ferry military aircraft to various delivery points.
Lacey eventually finds herself enlisted to by the British to help fend of an air attack by the Germans.
The character is not based on a real person, per se. But Ryan knew what broad-stroke traits he wanted, even if the models he found came from a different era.
“My daughter is like that and I watched her grow up and some of her friends are like that,” he says. “ It came from those places ... They just do what needs to be done. They see what the job is and they get the job done. In wartime, that kind of ability or personality is often needed. It’s not always appreciated, but needed.”
Historically, these women flew heavy bombers and fighters and, when the war ended, were cast aside, Ryan said.
“After the war they were shut down and apparently some of them killed themselves because they couldn’t fly,” Ryan said. “The Russians actually had at least two women who were aces and flew for the Russian air force. But for a lot of these stories, I really had to dig for them.”
Ryan, 58, retired in 2009 after a long career teaching creative writing and other subjects to junior high and high-school students. Sharon Lacey’s outsider status follows a literary pattern of sorts for Ryan. It was during his time in Calgary schools that the idea dawned on him to create a gay protagonist to head a series of Calgary-based mysteries. After seeing two female students in his class bullied because they were gay, he decided to create a heroic gay character. Since then, the driven one-named Detective Lane has gone on to be the hero of five novels, including last year’s Malabarista.
But the idea for Sharon Lacey actually predates the Detective Lane series. Ryan had shelved the book for awhile, but when he found the need for some distraction between Calgary mysteries he returned to the story.
It was a natural fit. Ryan has been a Second World War and aviation buff since he was a kid growing up in Glendale. So immersing himself in the copious amounts of research historical fiction tends to require was a treat, he says. Again, Google came in handy.
“You can actually Google some of the aircraft that she flew and it will almost sit you in the cockpit,” he said. “I got to the air shows, to see what the old aircraft were like and what they sounded like. For me, that’s just really fascinating stuff.”
The research certainly hasn’t seemed to slow down Ryan’s pace. He has already finished three more Lane mysteries and is working on a fourth, which was inspired by a recent trip to Cuba. He’s also busy penning two sequels to Blackbirds.
“I just keep going,” he said. “It’s kind of a compulsion I think.


Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Heroic+female+pilots+fires+imagination+Calgary+novelist+Garry+Ryan/7527509/story.html#ixzz2DLtqGcPL
In this Google age, it’s not hard to find them.
Just type in Air Transport Auxiliary and the black-and-white faces begin to appear. They were the ambitious women pilots who flew in the face of gender expectations by taking on dangerous aviation missions during the Second World War.
They are fascinating characters and have long captured the imagination of author Garry Ryan, a former school teacher best known for his series of mystery novels featuring gay protagonist Detective Lane.
Long before Lane began patrolling the mean streets of Calgary, Ryan had toyed with the idea of a book featuring a defiant female pilot putting in time for the Air Transit Auxiliary in England.
“It was based on the idea that these young women came all over the world to fly for the ATA,” says Ryan, in an interview from his Calgary home. “So I thought about what sort of young woman would go there and how she would be received and the troubles she would face, especially if she was a better pilot than most of the men.”
So Sharon Lacey was born. In Blackbirds, which is the first of at least three novels that Ryan has planned for the character, she is introduced as a young pilot who travels from her home in Canada to England in 1940 in search of her estranged father. She finds herself involved with the Auxiliary, a British wartime organization made up of civilians that helped ferry military aircraft to various delivery points.
Lacey eventually finds herself enlisted to by the British to help fend of an air attack by the Germans.
The character is not based on a real person, per se. But Ryan knew what broad-stroke traits he wanted, even if the models he found came from a different era.
“My daughter is like that and I watched her grow up and some of her friends are like that,” he says. “ It came from those places ... They just do what needs to be done. They see what the job is and they get the job done. In wartime, that kind of ability or personality is often needed. It’s not always appreciated, but needed.”
Historically, these women flew heavy bombers and fighters and, when the war ended, were cast aside, Ryan said.
“After the war they were shut down and apparently some of them killed themselves because they couldn’t fly,” Ryan said. “The Russians actually had at least two women who were aces and flew for the Russian air force. But for a lot of these stories, I really had to dig for them.”
Ryan, 58, retired in 2009 after a long career teaching creative writing and other subjects to junior high and high-school students. Sharon Lacey’s outsider status follows a literary pattern of sorts for Ryan. It was during his time in Calgary schools that the idea dawned on him to create a gay protagonist to head a series of Calgary-based mysteries. After seeing two female students in his class bullied because they were gay, he decided to create a heroic gay character. Since then, the driven one-named Detective Lane has gone on to be the hero of five novels, including last year’s Malabarista.
But the idea for Sharon Lacey actually predates the Detective Lane series. Ryan had shelved the book for awhile, but when he found the need for some distraction between Calgary mysteries he returned to the story.
It was a natural fit. Ryan has been a Second World War and aviation buff since he was a kid growing up in Glendale. So immersing himself in the copious amounts of research historical fiction tends to require was a treat, he says. Again, Google came in handy.
“You can actually Google some of the aircraft that she flew and it will almost sit you in the cockpit,” he said. “I got to the air shows, to see what the old aircraft were like and what they sounded like. For me, that’s just really fascinating stuff.”
The research certainly hasn’t seemed to slow down Ryan’s pace. He has already finished three more Lane mysteries and is working on a fourth, which was inspired by a recent trip to Cuba. He’s also busy penning two sequels to Blackbirds.
“I just keep going,” he said. “It’s kind of a compulsion I think.


Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Heroic+female+pilots+fires+imagination+Calgary+novelist+Garry+Ryan/7527509/story.html#ixzz2DLtqGcPL
In this Google age, it’s not hard to find them.
Just type in Air Transport Auxiliary and the black-and-white faces begin to appear. They were the ambitious women pilots who flew in the face of gender expectations by taking on dangerous aviation missions during the Second World War.
They are fascinating characters and have long captured the imagination of author Garry Ryan, a former school teacher best known for his series of mystery novels featuring gay protagonist Detective Lane.
Long before Lane began patrolling the mean streets of Calgary, Ryan had toyed with the idea of a book featuring a defiant female pilot putting in time for the Air Transit Auxiliary in England.
“It was based on the idea that these young women came all over the world to fly for the ATA,” says Ryan, in an interview from his Calgary home. “So I thought about what sort of young woman would go there and how she would be received and the troubles she would face, especially if she was a better pilot than most of the men.”
So Sharon Lacey was born. In Blackbirds, which is the first of at least three novels that Ryan has planned for the character, she is introduced as a young pilot who travels from her home in Canada to England in 1940 in search of her estranged father. She finds herself involved with the Auxiliary, a British wartime organization made up of civilians that helped ferry military aircraft to various delivery points.
Lacey eventually finds herself enlisted to by the British to help fend of an air attack by the Germans.
The character is not based on a real person, per se. But Ryan knew what broad-stroke traits he wanted, even if the models he found came from a different era.
“My daughter is like that and I watched her grow up and some of her friends are like that,” he says. “ It came from those places ... They just do what needs to be done. They see what the job is and they get the job done. In wartime, that kind of ability or personality is often needed. It’s not always appreciated, but needed.”
Historically, these women flew heavy bombers and fighters and, when the war ended, were cast aside, Ryan said.
“After the war they were shut down and apparently some of them killed themselves because they couldn’t fly,” Ryan said. “The Russians actually had at least two women who were aces and flew for the Russian air force. But for a lot of these stories, I really had to dig for them.”
Ryan, 58, retired in 2009 after a long career teaching creative writing and other subjects to junior high and high-school students. Sharon Lacey’s outsider status follows a literary pattern of sorts for Ryan. It was during his time in Calgary schools that the idea dawned on him to create a gay protagonist to head a series of Calgary-based mysteries. After seeing two female students in his class bullied because they were gay, he decided to create a heroic gay character. Since then, the driven one-named Detective Lane has gone on to be the hero of five novels, including last year’s Malabarista.
But the idea for Sharon Lacey actually predates the Detective Lane series. Ryan had shelved the book for awhile, but when he found the need for some distraction between Calgary mysteries he returned to the story.
It was a natural fit. Ryan has been a Second World War and aviation buff since he was a kid growing up in Glendale. So immersing himself in the copious amounts of research historical fiction tends to require was a treat, he says. Again, Google came in handy.
“You can actually Google some of the aircraft that she flew and it will almost sit you in the cockpit,” he said. “I got to the air shows, to see what the old aircraft were like and what they sounded like. For me, that’s just really fascinating stuff.”
The research certainly hasn’t seemed to slow down Ryan’s pace. He has already finished three more Lane mysteries and is working on a fourth, which was inspired by a recent trip to Cuba. He’s also busy penning two sequels to Blackbirds.
“I just keep going,” he said. “It’s kind of a compulsion I think.


Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Heroic+female+pilots+fires+imagination+Calgary+novelist+Garry+Ryan/7527509/story.html#ixzz2DLtqGcPL
In this Google age, it’s not hard to find them.
Just type in Air Transport Auxiliary and the black-and-white faces begin to appear. They were the ambitious women pilots who flew in the face of gender expectations by taking on dangerous aviation missions during the Second World War.
They are fascinating characters and have long captured the imagination of author Garry Ryan, a former school teacher best known for his series of mystery novels featuring gay protagonist Detective Lane.
Long before Lane began patrolling the mean streets of Calgary, Ryan had toyed with the idea of a book featuring a defiant female pilot putting in time for the Air Transit Auxiliary in England.
“It was based on the idea that these young women came all over the world to fly for the ATA,” says Ryan, in an interview from his Calgary home. “So I thought about what sort of young woman would go there and how she would be received and the troubles she would face, especially if she was a better pilot than most of the men.”
So Sharon Lacey was born. In Blackbirds, which is the first of at least three novels that Ryan has planned for the character, she is introduced as a young pilot who travels from her home in Canada to England in 1940 in search of her estranged father. She finds herself involved with the Auxiliary, a British wartime organization made up of civilians that helped ferry military aircraft to various delivery points.
Lacey eventually finds herself enlisted to by the British to help fend of an air attack by the Germans.
The character is not based on a real person, per se. But Ryan knew what broad-stroke traits he wanted, even if the models he found came from a different era.
“My daughter is like that and I watched her grow up and some of her friends are like that,” he says. “ It came from those places ... They just do what needs to be done. They see what the job is and they get the job done. In wartime, that kind of ability or personality is often needed. It’s not always appreciated, but needed.”
Historically, these women flew heavy bombers and fighters and, when the war ended, were cast aside, Ryan said.
“After the war they were shut down and apparently some of them killed themselves because they couldn’t fly,” Ryan said. “The Russians actually had at least two women who were aces and flew for the Russian air force. But for a lot of these stories, I really had to dig for them.”
Ryan, 58, retired in 2009 after a long career teaching creative writing and other subjects to junior high and high-school students. Sharon Lacey’s outsider status follows a literary pattern of sorts for Ryan. It was during his time in Calgary schools that the idea dawned on him to create a gay protagonist to head a series of Calgary-based mysteries. After seeing two female students in his class bullied because they were gay, he decided to create a heroic gay character. Since then, the driven one-named Detective Lane has gone on to be the hero of five novels, including last year’s Malabarista.
But the idea for Sharon Lacey actually predates the Detective Lane series. Ryan had shelved the book for awhile, but when he found the need for some distraction between Calgary mysteries he returned to the story.
It was a natural fit. Ryan has been a Second World War and aviation buff since he was a kid growing up in Glendale. So immersing himself in the copious amounts of research historical fiction tends to require was a treat, he says. Again, Google came in handy.
“You can actually Google some of the aircraft that she flew and it will almost sit you in the cockpit,” he said. “I got to the air shows, to see what the old aircraft were like and what they sounded like. For me, that’s just really fascinating stuff.”
The research certainly hasn’t seemed to slow down Ryan’s pace. He has already finished three more Lane mysteries and is working on a fourth, which was inspired by a recent trip to Cuba. He’s also busy penning two sequels to Blackbirds.
“I just keep going,” he said. “It’s kind of a compulsion I think.


Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Heroic+female+pilots+fires+imagination+Calgary+novelist+Garry+Ryan/7527509/story.html#ixzz2DLtqGcPL
In this Google age, it’s not hard to find them.
Just type in Air Transport Auxiliary and the black-and-white faces begin to appear. They were the ambitious women pilots who flew in the face of gender expectations by taking on dangerous aviation missions during the Second World War.
They are fascinating characters and have long captured the imagination of author Garry Ryan, a former school teacher best known for his series of mystery novels featuring gay protagonist Detective Lane.
Long before Lane began patrolling the mean streets of Calgary, Ryan had toyed with the idea of a book featuring a defiant female pilot putting in time for the Air Transit Auxiliary in England.
“It was based on the idea that these young women came all over the world to fly for the ATA,” says Ryan, in an interview from his Calgary home. “So I thought about what sort of young woman would go there and how she would be received and the troubles she would face, especially if she was a better pilot than most of the men.”
So Sharon Lacey was born. In Blackbirds, which is the first of at least three novels that Ryan has planned for the character, she is introduced as a young pilot who travels from her home in Canada to England in 1940 in search of her estranged father. She finds herself involved with the Auxiliary, a British wartime organization made up of civilians that helped ferry military aircraft to various delivery points.
Lacey eventually finds herself enlisted to by the British to help fend of an air attack by the Germans.
The character is not based on a real person, per se. But Ryan knew what broad-stroke traits he wanted, even if the models he found came from a different era.
“My daughter is like that and I watched her grow up and some of her friends are like that,” he says. “ It came from those places ... They just do what needs to be done. They see what the job is and they get the job done. In wartime, that kind of ability or personality is often needed. It’s not always appreciated, but needed.”
Historically, these women flew heavy bombers and fighters and, when the war ended, were cast aside, Ryan said.
“After the war they were shut down and apparently some of them killed themselves because they couldn’t fly,” Ryan said. “The Russians actually had at least two women who were aces and flew for the Russian air force. But for a lot of these stories, I really had to dig for them.”
Ryan, 58, retired in 2009 after a long career teaching creative writing and other subjects to junior high and high-school students. Sharon Lacey’s outsider status follows a literary pattern of sorts for Ryan. It was during his time in Calgary schools that the idea dawned on him to create a gay protagonist to head a series of Calgary-based mysteries. After seeing two female students in his class bullied because they were gay, he decided to create a heroic gay character. Since then, the driven one-named Detective Lane has gone on to be the hero of five novels, including last year’s Malabarista.
But the idea for Sharon Lacey actually predates the Detective Lane series. Ryan had shelved the book for awhile, but when he found the need for some distraction between Calgary mysteries he returned to the story.
It was a natural fit. Ryan has been a Second World War and aviation buff since he was a kid growing up in Glendale. So immersing himself in the copious amounts of research historical fiction tends to require was a treat, he says. Again, Google came in handy.
“You can actually Google some of the aircraft that she flew and it will almost sit you in the cockpit,” he said. “I got to the air shows, to see what the old aircraft were like and what they sounded like. For me, that’s just really fascinating stuff.”
The research certainly hasn’t seemed to slow down Ryan’s pace. He has already finished three more Lane mysteries and is working on a fourth, which was inspired by a recent trip to Cuba. He’s also busy penning two sequels to Blackbirds.
“I just keep going,” he said. “It’s kind of a compulsion I think.


Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Heroic+female+pilots+fires+imagination+Calgary+novelist+Garry+Ryan/7527509/story.html#ixzz2DLtqGcPL
In this Google age, it’s not hard to find them.
Just type in Air Transport Auxiliary and the black-and-white faces begin to appear. They were the ambitious women pilots who flew in the face of gender expectations by taking on dangerous aviation missions during the Second World War.
They are fascinating characters and have long captured the imagination of author Garry Ryan, a former school teacher best known for his series of mystery novels featuring gay protagonist Detective Lane.
Long before Lane began patrolling the mean streets of Calgary, Ryan had toyed with the idea of a book featuring a defiant female pilot putting in time for the Air Transit Auxiliary in England.
“It was based on the idea that these young women came all over the world to fly for the ATA,” says Ryan, in an interview from his Calgary home. “So I thought about what sort of young woman would go there and how she would be received and the troubles she would face, especially if she was a better pilot than most of the men.”
So Sharon Lacey was born. In Blackbirds, which is the first of at least three novels that Ryan has planned for the character, she is introduced as a young pilot who travels from her home in Canada to England in 1940 in search of her estranged father. She finds herself involved with the Auxiliary, a British wartime organization made up of civilians that helped ferry military aircraft to various delivery points.
Lacey eventually finds herself enlisted to by the British to help fend of an air attack by the Germans.
The character is not based on a real person, per se. But Ryan knew what broad-stroke traits he wanted, even if the models he found came from a different era.
“My daughter is like that and I watched her grow up and some of her friends are like that,” he says. “ It came from those places ... They just do what needs to be done. They see what the job is and they get the job done. In wartime, that kind of ability or personality is often needed. It’s not always appreciated, but needed.”
Historically, these women flew heavy bombers and fighters and, when the war ended, were cast aside, Ryan said.
“After the war they were shut down and apparently some of them killed themselves because they couldn’t fly,” Ryan said. “The Russians actually had at least two women who were aces and flew for the Russian air force. But for a lot of these stories, I really had to dig for them.”
Ryan, 58, retired in 2009 after a long career teaching creative writing and other subjects to junior high and high-school students. Sharon Lacey’s outsider status follows a literary pattern of sorts for Ryan. It was during his time in Calgary schools that the idea dawned on him to create a gay protagonist to head a series of Calgary-based mysteries. After seeing two female students in his class bullied because they were gay, he decided to create a heroic gay character. Since then, the driven one-named Detective Lane has gone on to be the hero of five novels, including last year’s Malabarista.
But the idea for Sharon Lacey actually predates the Detective Lane series. Ryan had shelved the book for awhile, but when he found the need for some distraction between Calgary mysteries he returned to the story.
It was a natural fit. Ryan has been a Second World War and aviation buff since he was a kid growing up in Glendale. So immersing himself in the copious amounts of research historical fiction tends to require was a treat, he says. Again, Google came in handy.
“You can actually Google some of the aircraft that she flew and it will almost sit you in the cockpit,” he said. “I got to the air shows, to see what the old aircraft were like and what they sounded like. For me, that’s just really fascinating stuff.”
The research certainly hasn’t seemed to slow down Ryan’s pace. He has already finished three more Lane mysteries and is working on a fourth, which was inspired by a recent trip to Cuba. He’s also busy penning two sequels to Blackbirds.
“I just keep going,” he said. “It’s kind of a compulsion I think.


Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Heroic+female+pilots+fires+imagination+Calgary+novelist+Garry+Ryan/7527509/story.html#ixzz2DLtqGcPL
In this Google age, it’s not hard to find them.
Just type in Air Transport Auxiliary and the black-and-white faces begin to appear. They were the ambitious women pilots who flew in the face of gender expectations by taking on dangerous aviation missions during the Second World War.
They are fascinating characters and have long captured the imagination of author Garry Ryan, a former school teacher best known for his series of mystery novels featuring gay protagonist Detective Lane.
Long before Lane began patrolling the mean streets of Calgary, Ryan had toyed with the idea of a book featuring a defiant female pilot putting in time for the Air Transit Auxiliary in England.
“It was based on the idea that these young women came all over the world to fly for the ATA,” says Ryan, in an interview from his Calgary home. “So I thought about what sort of young woman would go there and how she would be received and the troubles she would face, especially if she was a better pilot than most of the men.”
So Sharon Lacey was born. In Blackbirds, which is the first of at least three novels that Ryan has planned for the character, she is introduced as a young pilot who travels from her home in Canada to England in 1940 in search of her estranged father. She finds herself involved with the Auxiliary, a British wartime organization made up of civilians that helped ferry military aircraft to various delivery points.
Lacey eventually finds herself enlisted to by the British to help fend of an air attack by the Germans.
The character is not based on a real person, per se. But Ryan knew what broad-stroke traits he wanted, even if the models he found came from a different era.
“My daughter is like that and I watched her grow up and some of her friends are like that,” he says. “ It came from those places ... They just do what needs to be done. They see what the job is and they get the job done. In wartime, that kind of ability or personality is often needed. It’s not always appreciated, but needed.”
Historically, these women flew heavy bombers and fighters and, when the war ended, were cast aside, Ryan said.
“After the war they were shut down and apparently some of them killed themselves because they couldn’t fly,” Ryan said. “The Russians actually had at least two women who were aces and flew for the Russian air force. But for a lot of these stories, I really had to dig for them.”
Ryan, 58, retired in 2009 after a long career teaching creative writing and other subjects to junior high and high-school students. Sharon Lacey’s outsider status follows a literary pattern of sorts for Ryan. It was during his time in Calgary schools that the idea dawned on him to create a gay protagonist to head a series of Calgary-based mysteries. After seeing two female students in his class bullied because they were gay, he decided to create a heroic gay character. Since then, the driven one-named Detective Lane has gone on to be the hero of five novels, including last year’s Malabarista.
But the idea for Sharon Lacey actually predates the Detective Lane series. Ryan had shelved the book for awhile, but when he found the need for some distraction between Calgary mysteries he returned to the story.
It was a natural fit. Ryan has been a Second World War and aviation buff since he was a kid growing up in Glendale. So immersing himself in the copious amounts of research historical fiction tends to require was a treat, he says. Again, Google came in handy.
“You can actually Google some of the aircraft that she flew and it will almost sit you in the cockpit,” he said. “I got to the air shows, to see what the old aircraft were like and what they sounded like. For me, that’s just really fascinating stuff.”
The research certainly hasn’t seemed to slow down Ryan’s pace. He has already finished three more Lane mysteries and is working on a fourth, which was inspired by a recent trip to Cuba. He’s also busy penning two sequels to Blackbirds.
“I just keep going,” he said. “It’s kind of a compulsion I think.


Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Heroic+female+pilots+fires+imagination+Calgary+novelist+Garry+Ryan/7527509/story.html#ixzz2DLtqGcPL
In this Google age, it’s not hard to find them.
Just type in Air Transport Auxiliary and the black-and-white faces begin to appear. They were the ambitious women pilots who flew in the face of gender expectations by taking on dangerous aviation missions during the Second World War.
They are fascinating characters and have long captured the imagination of author Garry Ryan, a former school teacher best known for his series of mystery novels featuring gay protagonist Detective Lane.
Long before Lane began patrolling the mean streets of Calgary, Ryan had toyed with the idea of a book featuring a defiant female pilot putting in time for the Air Transit Auxiliary in England.
“It was based on the idea that these young women came all over the world to fly for the ATA,” says Ryan, in an interview from his Calgary home. “So I thought about what sort of young woman would go there and how she would be received and the troubles she would face, especially if she was a better pilot than most of the men.”
So Sharon Lacey was born. In Blackbirds, which is the first of at least three novels that Ryan has planned for the character, she is introduced as a young pilot who travels from her home in Canada to England in 1940 in search of her estranged father. She finds herself involved with the Auxiliary, a British wartime organization made up of civilians that helped ferry military aircraft to various delivery points.
Lacey eventually finds herself enlisted to by the British to help fend of an air attack by the Germans.
The character is not based on a real person, per se. But Ryan knew what broad-stroke traits he wanted, even if the models he found came from a different era.
“My daughter is like that and I watched her grow up and some of her friends are like that,” he says. “ It came from those places ... They just do what needs to be done. They see what the job is and they get the job done. In wartime, that kind of ability or personality is often needed. It’s not always appreciated, but needed.”
Historically, these women flew heavy bombers and fighters and, when the war ended, were cast aside, Ryan said.
“After the war they were shut down and apparently some of them killed themselves because they couldn’t fly,” Ryan said. “The Russians actually had at least two women who were aces and flew for the Russian air force. But for a lot of these stories, I really had to dig for them.”
Ryan, 58, retired in 2009 after a long career teaching creative writing and other subjects to junior high and high-school students. Sharon Lacey’s outsider status follows a literary pattern of sorts for Ryan. It was during his time in Calgary schools that the idea dawned on him to create a gay protagonist to head a series of Calgary-based mysteries. After seeing two female students in his class bullied because they were gay, he decided to create a heroic gay character. Since then, the driven one-named Detective Lane has gone on to be the hero of five novels, including last year’s Malabarista.
But the idea for Sharon Lacey actually predates the Detective Lane series. Ryan had shelved the book for awhile, but when he found the need for some distraction between Calgary mysteries he returned to the story.
It was a natural fit. Ryan has been a Second World War and aviation buff since he was a kid growing up in Glendale. So immersing himself in the copious amounts of research historical fiction tends to require was a treat, he says. Again, Google came in handy.
“You can actually Google some of the aircraft that she flew and it will almost sit you in the cockpit,” he said. “I got to the air shows, to see what the old aircraft were like and what they sounded like. For me, that’s just really fascinating stuff.”
The research certainly hasn’t seemed to slow down Ryan’s pace. He has already finished three more Lane mysteries and is working on a fourth, which was inspired by a recent trip to Cuba. He’s also busy penning two sequels to Blackbirds.
“I just keep going,” he said. “It’s kind of a compulsion I think.


Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Heroic+female+pilots+fires+imagination+Calgary+novelist+Garry+Ryan/7527509/story.html#ixzz2DLtqGcPL

Lucile Wise, 92, awaits pilot Chad Graves as the two prepare to fly in a 1942 Boeing-Stearman biplane at Centennial Airport. Wise, with the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II, was among the first women to fly military aircraft. This year, they will be honored at the 10th annual gala of Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum on Dec. 21. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)


Read more: Arvada WASP pilot recaptures legacy of Fifinella with biplane flight - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_21968958/arvada-wasp-pilot-recaptures-legacy-fifinella-biplane-flight#ixzz2DLulAAMs
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Heroic female war pilots fires imagination of Calgary novelist Garry Ryan

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Heroic+female+pilots+fires+imagination+Calgary+novelist+Garry+Ryan/7527509/story.html#ixzz2DLtWf2sW

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