Wally Funk started flying at age 16, obtained her Private Pilot certificate while at Stephens College, and obtained all her other ratings while a student at Oklahoma State University. After graduating, she taught primary flight students for the U.S. Army at Fort Sill.
Then she heard about an astronaut screening program and was selected to participate. Along with twelve other women, they became known as the "Mercury 13". Political pressures forced the termination of the women's astronaut program. She became the first female FAA inspector, and the first female NTSB investigator, serving on over 400 accident boards.
Wally was listed in Outstanding Young Women of America in 1965, Won the Pacific Air Race in 1975, and was inducted into the Aviation Womens Hall of Fame in 1995. She holds an honorary Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, and has had awards, trophies, and even a song named after her.
Wally still flight instructs, and has a reservation to fly into space next year with Virgin Galactic.