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Selma Cronan

Selma Kantor Cronan flew as a pilot both running transport missions during WWII and later as a civilian, winning competitive aerial races. In 1943, Cronan was invited to join the Women’s Airforce Service Pilots, the first women aviators in the US military. The WASPs transported military cargo and personnel, delivered new aircraft, and flew tow targets, but despite flying over enemy territory on sometimes risky missions, were not officially recognized as military personnel until 1977, when they were declared veterans. After WWII, Cronan took part in flying competitions, including the three All Women’s Transcontinental Air Races, known as the “Powder Puff Derbies,” and earned a name for herself as a competitive pilot. She continued to fly into the 1990s, and remained active in a number of women’s flight organizations, particularly the International Association of Licensed Women Pilots. In 1990, she attended an international conference of women pilots in Russia, where former WASPS met their opposite numbers, the Russian women pilots known as “Night Witches” for their daring night raids on German targets.

Selma Cronan in Airplane, New York, 1945
Full image
Pilot Selma K. Cronan at the controls. Miller Field, New York, 1945.
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Asbury Park, New Jersey
Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Selma Cronan." (Viewed on March 21, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/cronan-selma>.


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