Alice S. Fuchs died on Sept. 19, 2012 at the Village at Penn State in State College.
She was born on June 22, 1917 in Poultney, Vt. She went to Wilson College on a full four-year scholarship, graduating in 1938. She then attended Penn State University and received an M.A. in English.
A crucial event occurred in the fall of 1939 at Penn State: She decided to learn to fly with Sherm Lutz at the airport at State College and there met her future husband and pilot, Bill Fuchs. They were married on June 29, 1942, and Alice became an Air Force officer's wife, moving 18 times in 18 years. She joined flying clubs and pursued her passion for flying.
In 1939 Alice and Bill bought a Piper J-3 Cub, the first of many aircraft they owned throughout the years. By 1945 she had earned her instructor's and instrument ratings. Her first flight student was the Army chaplain, the first of many students she taught to fly.
Alice began her career in 1940 as an instructor and Assistant Dean of Women at Hillyer Junior College in Hartford, Conn., teaching math and English. In 1946 she entered The University of Michigan, where she did further graduate work toward a Ph.D. program.
She became a magazine article writer in 1947 and eventually published over 100 articles and at least one book on flying. Alice was the editor of the American Soaring Handbook, a series of ten books. She had many different flight ratings in multiple types of aircraft and was a true aviation pioneer. Alice was the first woman to teach cadets at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, giving them flight instruction in gliders. She was also one of the first female FAA-designated flight examiners, giving flight tests for central Pennsylvania. She flew in two national air races and in her later years, along with her husband, ran the flight service business, Eagle Aviation at the Lock Haven airport.
Bill Fuchs passed away in 2010. He and Alice were a team that will be fondly remembered by their many flight students and aviation friends.
If you can drive, you can fly!
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This page last updated 7 October 2012
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