As an alumnus of Pancho Barnes' Flight School, I was most interested in your article on Pancho. What memories it brought back ("Pancho Barnes: An Affair With the Air Force" by Ann Japenga, Nov. 17).
My association with Pancho was prior to the Happy Bottom Riding Club or the Mac McKendry mentioned in your story. Pancho had a flight school that had a connection with the junior college in Lancaster. Most of the students were from the Los Angeles area and we lived at her ranch, then known as Oro Verde (Green Gold). I believe the name was taken for the alfalfa, then the principal crop. Edwards Air Force Base was little more than tents and temporary buildings whose main use was as a gunnery range for P-40's. This was in 1941, prior to Pearl Harbor.
Glennis Yeager's description of Pancho, her looks, her personality, is so true and to the point. Even in those days Pancho appeared to be a bit bloated and certainly not attractive--but what a personality. It was a privilege to have known her. I never have regretted the experience and consider the time to be one of my highlights.
Thank you for stirring the memories of times gone past. Even at that time one could not be considered an old-timer in aviation if they did not know Pancho Barnes.