Funk, Wally (1939–)

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Funk, Wally (1939–)

American aviator. Name variations: Mary Wallace Funk. Born Jan 31, 1939, in Taos, New Mexico.

A top pilot, became a flight instructor at Fort Sill Army base in Oklahoma at age 20; one of 13 women slated for the "Women in Space" program (1961), passed all the tests the men passed while in training, until NASA abruptly cancelled the program (the world was not yet ready for women astronauts); qualified to fly more than 30 types of planes, continued flight instruction and lectured worldwide; was the 1st woman to become an accident investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board (1974); became a pilot of the Solaris X, an entry in the X-Prize competition (2003).

See also Stephanie Nolen, Promised the Moon: The Untold Story of the First Women in the Space Race (2002); Martha Ackmann, The Mercury 13 (2003).