Evelyn Sharp (aviator)

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Evelyn Genevieve Sharp
Evelyn Sharp.JPG
Evelyn Sharp sitting on a Vultee basic trainer plane on 7 March 1943
Lois Genevieve Crouse

October 1, 1919
DiedApril 3, 1944
Parent(s)John and Mary Sharp

Evelyn Genevieve "Sharpie" Sharp (October 1, 1919 – April 3, 1944) was an American aviator.

Early life[edit]

Born Lois Genevieve Crouse on October 1, 1919 in Melstone, Montana, to Elsie Adelie Haeske Crouse and Orla Crouse,[1] she was adopted by John and Mary Sharp two months later, on December 22, 1919 and her name was changed to Evelyn Genevieve Sharp.

The Sharps moved to Ord, Nebraska in 1924 and opened a grocery store. In 1928 Sharp purchased a ranch and tried ranching for a time, but within a year sold the ranch and returned to Ord, where he opened a cafe and offered rooms to let.[2]

Introduction to aviation[edit]

In 1935, when Evelyn Sharp was sixteen, Jack Jefford opened a flying school in Ord and rented a room from the Sharps. Unable to pay his rent at one point, he offered to teach Evelyn how to fly instead.[3][4] After 25 lessons over the course of 13 months, she soloed in an Aeronca C-3 on March 4, 1936.[5]

At eighteen she received her commercial pilot's license and acquired her first airplane with the help of local businessmen. Sharp repaid them with the money earned from barnstorming. She became an airplane instructor at age 20; over 350 men learned to fly under her instruction.

While not the first American female airmail pilot (that distinction belongs to Katherine Stinson) she was certainly among the first.[6]

World War II[edit]

L-R, WAFS Barbara London prepares to take off in the P-51 Mustang, Evelyn Sharp wears the gabardine WAFS uniform. The WAFS were disappointed when they had to exchange their uniform for the Santiago Blues worn by the WASPs.

Sharp was one of the original Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) pilots with over 3,000 flight hours logged when she joined. The WAFS (under Nancy Love) were soon merged with the Women's Flying Training Detachment (under Jacqueline Cochran) to form the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP).

Sharp died on April 3, 1944 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania when the P-38 Lightning she was ferrying lost an engine on takeoff from New Cumberland Airport, now Capital City Airport (Pennsylvania), and crashed. She was 24 years old.


At the time of her death she was a squadron commander, only three flights from her fifth rating, the highest certificate then available to women.

She is buried in Ord, Nebraska, where a public airfield, the Evelyn Sharp Field Airport, has been named for her.[7] Every June, Ord celebrates Evelyn Sharp Days in her honor.[7]

In 1992, Sharp was inducted into the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame.

In 2018, a memorial to Sharp was dedicated at the Pfeiffer Memorial Arboretum and Nature Preserve in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, at the site of the plane crash.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sharpie: The Life Story of Evelyn Sharp, by Diane Ruth Armour Bartels
  2. ^ Sharpie: The Life Story of Evelyn Sharp, by Diane Ruth Armour Bartels
  3. ^ Sharpie: The Life Story of Evelyn Sharp, by Diane Ruth Armour Bartels
  4. ^ http://homesteadcongress.blogspot.com/2008/05/evelyn-sharp-special-homesteader-of-her.html
  5. ^ Sharpie: The Life Story of Evelyn Sharp, by Diane Ruth Armour Bartels
  6. ^ http://www.ctie.monash.edu.au/hargrave/stinson_bio.html
  7. ^ a b "EIU Invites Public to Meet Women of History" (Press release). Eastern Illinois University. February 21, 2001. p. add 3. Retrieved December 28, 2015.
  8. ^ "New Cumberland Arboretum, Memorial, Dedicated to Two Pioneering Women". Pennlive.com. August 5, 2018. Retrieved August 6, 2018.

External links[edit]