WALLY FUNK: 5 Important Facts to Know about the Aviator

Wally Funk

5 Important Facts to Know about Wally Funk

For quite a number of people, Wally Funk is a relatively new name. The American aviator has most recently been in the news again because she is scheduled to be on Jeff Bezos' first human flight to space by his space company, Blue Origin, on 20 July. She will make history as the oldest person in space with the flight.

Wally Funk

For most people who are versed in American aviation history though, Wally Funk, whose full name is Mary Wallace "Wally" Funk, is not a very strange name. Below are 10 Facts about Wally Funk that you ought to know:

5 Facts about Wally Funk

1. She is 82 years of age

According to Wikipedia, Wally Funk, who will soon become the oldest person in space, is at 82 years of age. She was born on February 1, 1939 in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and grew up in Taos, New Mexico.

2. She has always been into planes

Funk saw a plane for the first time at one-year-old. She describes her excitement in her own words:

"I go right to the wheel and I try to turn the nut. Mother says: 'She’s going to fly.'" 

Her interest in mechanics grew, and she began building airplane and ship models. At age seven, She began making planes from wood at age 7, and began learning to fly at age 9. 

3. She was outstanding in college

In highschool, because it was inappropriate for her as a girl to take courses such as automechanics and mechanical drawing, Wally Funk resorted to taking Home Economics.

She later went on to study and graduate from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education. Here, she received the "Outstanding Female Pilot", the "Flying Aggie Top Pilot" and the "Alfred Alder Memorial" trophies.

4. She has volunteered for the "Women in Space" programme

Wally Funk volunteered for the "Women in Space" programe. Although she was younger than the recruiting age range of 25-40, Wally Funk, who was 21, got picked to become the youngest of the 19 women that were picked. 

The programme was run by William Randolph, and supported by NASA. Unfortunately, the programe got canceled before the women underwent their very last tests.

5. She has done well in air races. 

Wally Funk air race results are:

- 8th in the Powder Puff Derby's 25th Annual Race

- 6th in the Pacific Air Race

- 8th in the Palms to Pines Air Race

- 2nd in the Palms to Pines All Women Air Race on August 16, 1975

 - She won the Pacific Air Race against 80 competitors on October 4, 1975


Wally Funk has done so much for herself that this list is nowhere near exhaustive. We appreciate her steadfastness and passion for the things she loves. According to her, “I am married to airplanes”. 

We wish her a safe trip to space come July 20, 2021.

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