The Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) was a civilian organization founded in England at the beginning of WWII. During the war, more than 1,200 civilian men and women pilots from 25 countries ferried more than 300,000 Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Navy (RN) warplanes between factories, repair facilities and the air bases. They flew in all kinds of weather and in dangerous situations. A number of the planes had no radios and at times pilots were required to ferry planes they had never flown before.
Women joined the ATA in January 1940 when the first eight were recruited by Pauline Gower. The women, who were paid less than their male counterparts, were placed in non-operational planes like trainers and communication aircraft. Thanks to Pauline's persistent efforts, the women of the ATA eventually began flying the Hurricane, Spitfire and Lancaster bomber aircraft. In 1943, the women were finally paid the same as the men they flew with. Nearly 170 women flew for the ATA including a number of American women recruited by Jackie Cochran.