Flight checks were something all WASP had to deal with on a weekly basis. Instructors were often the deciding point if a WASP gained her wings or washed out. Hazel Stamper Hohn realized this early on in her training and was determined to figure out a way to make her flight checks successful.
The following is an excerpt Hazel wrote regarding her instructors:
“I remember seeing one instructor, Emile Cernich who we called The Mad Russian, get down on his hands and knees and kiss the ground when he landed with a student. Some instructors were not there to help us get through, but were against women flying at all. They made it rough for their students on purpose. Fortunately for me, I didn’t get one of these for Primary, or I may not have made it through. My instructor, Paul Gaynor, was the greatest. He told me that more than once I should have gotten two pink slips, meaning an elimination ride, but it wasn’t my flying that was the problem. It was my lack of self-confidence. I depended too much on him. However, he said he was sure that in time I would develop this confidence and did not issue the pink slip.
Then one day when we arrived at the Ready Room, there were some names on the board to get Army spot checks. It was not time for this. When Mr. Gaynor saw my name he groaned. I’d never make it, he said. I had not reached that point of self-confidence he knew I needed. But there was no choice.
As the check pilot and I walked out to the flight line, I silently hatched a plot. I knew that if the pilot yelled at me in the air, I would panic. So, I forestall this possibility, I left off my earphones. I figured it would be better for him to think I forgot them. He outlined a schedule of maneuvers, and we climbed in. During the entire flight, I just followed these directions, with no voice in my ears.
When we landed, I expected him to chew me out for forgetting the earphones. Instead, he didn’t say a word to me. He told my instructor that I had given him a beautiful flight. Mr. Gaynor could not believe his ears.
He said, 'I want you to take me up and show me exactly what you did.'
'We went up and I gave him the best flight he had ever had with me. It was all because I made that crazy decision not to put on my earphones, thus, thinking for myself and gaining the self-confidence I needed.'"