Pearl Laska Chamberlain
Pearl L. Chamberlain
Pearl Laska Chamberlain, WASP trainee
Lelia Pearl Bragg
April 29, 1909
Chestnut Mountain, Summers County, West Virginia
|Died||November 22, 2012(aged 103)|
|Spouse(s)||Lewis Lincoln Laska, Ed Chamberlain|
Pearl Laska Chamberlain (born Lelia Pearl Bragg; April 29, 1909 – November 22, 2012) learned to fly in a Kinner Fleet bi-plane in 1933 and held a pilot’s certificate until she was 97. Prior to World War II, the federal government established the Civilian Pilot Training Program, a back-door method to train pilots for military service.
She was a W.A.S.P. (Women Airforce Service Pilots) trainee during the war and was honorably discharged. In 1945, following her dream to be a full-time pilot, Pearl moved to Nome, Alaska and worked as a flight instructor and bush pilot. The next year she became the first woman to solo a single-engine airplane (a 1939 Piper J-4) up the Alaska Highway. The FAA recognized her achievements as a pioneer Alaska aviator in 2006. Scorning the belief that Alaska Natives (Inuit, etc.) were unable to learn flying, she taught many, including Holger Jorgensen, who became the first Native hired as a pilot by a scheduled air line.
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- Pilot Infonews biography
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