“Alabama’s First Lady of Flight”
High school cheerleader, campus queen, airplane pilot, wife, mother, politician and business-woman!
Ferrying had tense moments.
(May 1988, Lightning Strikes)
Nancy Batson Crews delivered many P-38s from California to the P.O.E. at Newark, N .J., but one trip left her less than ecstatic. Preparing to land at Pittsburgh, she saw that the nose wheel was not coming down. Although weary from the three-hour leg, she dutifully set to work with the manual pump.
“Ah lost track of the number of pumps,” recalls Alabama-born Crews, “But mah arm sure was sore.” Finally, when the nose wheel still would not budge, she used the C02 bottle . Ferry pilots had been instructed not to touch emergency equipment and WASPs assiduously obeyed instructions. But enough was enough.
So the landing was made, and the plane was inspected. After a day’s delay and the assurance that the problem had been fixed, Crews took off for Newark. As she approached, guess what? Same balky nose wheel. This time exasperated ferry pilot said the equivalent of “to-H-with-it” and blew it down again.
That was one P-38 which did not receive the customary friendly farewell pat.
This is the story of an uncommon woman–high school cheerleader, campus queen, airplane pilot, wife, mother, politician, business-woman–who epitomizes the struggles and freedoms of women in 20th-century America, as they first began to believe they could live full lives and demanded to do so. World War II offered women the opportunity to contribute to the work of the country, and Nancy Batson Crews was one woman who made the most of her privileged beginnings and youthful talents and opportunities…