Hanna had schooled as a medical missionary to aid the native
tribes in Africa. To reach these intractable lands, Hanna decided
to train as a pilot, a lofty choice for any woman in the male-
dominated world of 1932. Hanna however proved intrepid, and
resolute in her quest to acquire the sky. Once airborne her life
changed dramatically as she discovered both her greatest skill
and absolute passion.
Bold and fearless, Hanna quickly rose to become a formidable
aviatrix through the 1930’s and into the 1940’s. She was the first
woman to fly a helicopter, initially outdoors, and later in an
amazing feat within the aircraft hanger during a major European
air show. Hanna triumphed as the first female to fly a glider over
the Swiss Alps. She ranks among the earliest women test pilots,
piloting experimental rocket interceptor planes and test craft
described as “flying bombs with a cockpit.” She test flew the world’
s first jet fighter. Hanna set more than 40 altitude, speed and
endurance records in a variety of powered and non-powered
aircraft during her career. Like any great daredevil, she found
herself fortunate to be alive after many of her flights. She
boasted, probably without exaggeration, that she had broken
every bone in her body at one time or another. One of only two
women ever to do so, Hanna earned the highest civilian and
military honor her country had to offer.
In late April of 1945, Hanna responded to the call of her country
during a time of great conflict. She faced two desperate missions:
one national, the other personal. For her nation, the dangerous
and likely suicidal mission required peerless flying ability. Only a
flyer with the skill developed in Hanna’s thirteen years of daring
and audacious aviation prowess would attempt the undertaking.
Hanna assertively stepped forward and volunteered to accept the
A high military official had been declared a traitor. Hanna was to
accompany the new Chief of the Air Force, General Robert Griem
for the official promotion and to obtain his new orders concerning
the war. Her personal task was to achieve the rescue of the man
she truly admired and venerated. A prominent leader, he was
trapped in the besieged city of their destination and would surely
be captured by hostile forces if left behind. Supremely confident,
Hanna believed herself to be the one flyer who could successfully
undertake the assignment to help him. She alone had the skill
and passion to even attempt his liberation. She was used to
taking serious risks to succeed at her goals.
Taking off under the supporting air cover of 40 heavily armed
fighter planes, Hanna and the general raced along in a swift
fighter aircraft. Dodging, swooping and roaring at top speed as
aerial dogfights screamed and soared around them they safely
reached a second airfield, losing the entire escort protecting
them. Griem and Hanna boarded a smaller, faster, light plane,
stealthily skimming the landscape as dusk approached to avoid
detection. Enemy guns discovered them, damaging the aircraft.
General Griem, piloting the plane, sustained shrapnel wounds to
his foot and leg. With her skill, Hanna reached over his shoulders
and took the controls successfully crossing many miles of enemy
held territory, eluding the gunners. Hanna deftly landed her
plane amidst flames, rubble and smoldering ruins at her
destination. She quickly hid her craft on a bombed out city
street. With the fire of battle raging nearby, she and the general
made it to safe fortifications.
Protected within the national headquarters, General Griem
immediately received his promotion and the new strategies for
continuing the war. His wounds required him to rest for two days
before flying. Hanna recognized her opportunity to achieve her
personal objective…yet after two days spent pleading with the
country’s leader, she could not convince him to leave...
What Happened Next??? Intrigued?
To Find Out -- Read InCite and find out how Hanna's
mission applies directly to YOU.
|Hanna's Dangerous Mission
InCite Sample Stories