by Christina Leigh Burns
The B-26 had several nicknames, including "Widowmaker" and "Flying Coffin", but the WASP helped improve this plane.
"The B-26 was heaven, heaven, heaven! It was a beautiful airplane. It was a hard airplane, a tricky airplane, it was killing all kinds of pilots, but we weren't scared to fly it. We figured they just didn't know what they were doing. The B-26 had a bad reputation but it proved itself at the end of the war. It had fewer casualties than other planes. It flew like no other airplane."
The B-26 might have been heaven, but the flight suits the women had to wear were a different story. They weren't designed for women, and Edna tells a funny story about a practical problem:
"We were taking off from Dodge City, KS, and going up to North Dakota and back. We had all our winter gear on, and it was snowing and cold. We took turns flying, and when my turn was up, well I had to see about the "loo".
So I'm walking to the back of the plane with all my paraphernalia on and my two Dixie cups. We weren't as conventional and - well it wasn't as convenient for us as it was for the men, they had the "piss-pipe" or whatever it was called, and, well that didn't fit us. So, I start undoing all of this heavy equipment, the gloves, the jacket, and I take everything off and I fill up two Dixie cups. And the men up at the front, the engineer, and the radio man, the co-pilot, and we had another crew aboard too, they're all looking back and tittering.
I get myself all put back together again, put all my equipment back on, and start walking towards the front with my two Dixie cups, now full, one in each hand. Well the men are still laughing, and I'm thinking, "what in the world, I'm not that funny" as I struggled in and out of my things.
Well to get to the front, you have to cross the bomb way, it's about 12 inches wide where you walk through, and I get about half way over - I'm walking very carefully with my cups - and then - they open the bomb doors. And they're howling. So I think "well, this is my bombs away", and I'm looking down over Kansas or wherever we were and I turn my Dixie cups over and pour them out through the bomb doors, and they just about died.
I got back to the front and presented them with my empty Dixie cups, my 'Bombs Away'. That was a fun story."