Photo by Lisa Dills.

Rest in Justice, Dorothy Eleanor Olsen

Imagine what you see in 103 years, the changes and shifts in worldview, imagine having a critical skill in society and being told not to practice it. Imagine not being allowed to drive a car, much less fly fighter planes. And then imagine a woman who did all three, who not only flew every plane the livery could produce in the 1940s, but also flew a secret mission to Siberia to equip Russia with an air fleet to help defeat Hitler. Dorothy Eleanor Olsen saw it all. Always flying by her own chart, she preferred fast planes and young pilots, a wild child of the air who landed so hard, her landing gear would fall apart.

A member of the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) Dorothy and women like her ferried planes from manufacturing plants to battle staging areas. They had a dangerous task of testing the planes, of doing trial bombing runs, and risky landing maneuvers. It took a special kind of person to do that work, and Dorothy was simply born to it. She flew 60 missions as part of the 6th Ferry Group. She preferred flying alone, and liked the P-51 best.

Our thoughts are with Dorothy’s family and the WASP friends she has left behind.

Photo by Lisa Dills.

We celebrated Dorothy in Bellingham Alive in 2015 when we covered the Bravo 369 Flight Foundation. Click here to read the story.

And again in May of 2016 in a special Memorial Day feature. Click here to read the story.