A Look Back To 1957

It’s 1957 and this is Selma’s Myrtle Thompson Cagle at her airfield near Anderson Street with a passenger.

Myrtle offered airplane rides around Johnston County on her single engine Piper for $1 a head. In 1961, she would become one of The Mercury 13, which were the first female astronaut trainees to demonstrate that they had “the right stuff”.

Dr. Ralph Lovelace of the Lovelace Clinic in Albuquerque set out to find twenty females capable of space flight. Rigorous testing and qualifications whittled them down to the final thirteen. NASA’s rule to only accept qualified test pilots into the space program prevented any of the women being assigned, as none were test pilots.

MrsCagle ended her illustrious aviation career as a pilot for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Photo courtesy of the Johnston County Heritage Center. Originally contributed in 2009 by Carter Rabil.