Having brunch. Table next to us has a group of older folk who are apparently a writing group. One the one hand, this is awesome; on the other hand, they’re reading aloud, and this story is TERRIBLE.
Spiders with water droplet hats are something I really needed to know about.
March 21  was a warm, clear spring day in Texas, and seven BT-13s were enroute from Long Beach to Dallas. During a refueling stop a pilot named Frank Stamme began flirting with Cornelia [Fort, a pilot in the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Service]. When they were airborne again he began to put his AT-6 into dives right past her. It wasn’t funny. He was no fighter ace, and he had little or no training in formation flying. But he circled and came by again … even closer. And Cornelia did what Cornelia always did. She played it by the book, just maintaining loose formation. She must have hoped he would stop soon, but he did not stop. He just kept diving past her. And on one such dive his wheels were too close. They tore off a wingtip, and Cornelia’s plane immediately lost all control. She went into a spin and flew straight into the hard west Texas earth.
When recovery crews reached the wreckage, they found the engine buried two feet in the ground. The switch was off. She had had time to cut power to the engine. It was clear that she knew she was going to crash, and with the power cut she might prevent an explosion and fire. Of Cornelia herself, little could be identified with certainty, but they did find a short string of cultured pearls.