North Texas Aviation Pioneer to be Among First Space Travelers

26 Jan

When you listen to Wally Funk talk about her life, you might wonder how she fits it all in. The

boisterous north Texan has never been grounded, and she’s never understood the word ‘no.’

“I was a National Transportation Safety Board investigator. I was their first girl investigator there for

five years before they ever had another girl come on board,” said Funk.As an aviation pioneer,

Funk has broken gender barriers all her life.  “Nobody has ever said I can’t do it. They say, ‘can

you?’ and I say, ‘yes, and I can do it better,'” said Funk.  The one barrier she’s still waiting to

break is the Earth’s atmosphere. “I’m gonna be so stoked. It’s gonna be great. I’m gonna be so

excited,” said Funk.  Funk was one of 13 women, dubbed the ‘Mercury 13,’ who underwent testing

in the early 1960’s. It was a private project to see how women would respond to the same testing

as the original, male, team of US astronauts (the Mercury Seven). The project ended without

sending a woman to space. Still, Funk’s desire to go never ended.  “It’s on my mind constantly,”

said Funk.  That’s why she signed up to be one of the first on a commercial flight to space.

“She’s one of the most interesting people I have ever known, who has devoted her entire life to

aviation,” said Robin Sanders, of Sanders Travel Centre.


Sanders is one of only a handful of ‘Virgin Galactic accredited’ travel agents in Texas.

“I’m always looking for something that’s new and different,” said Sanders.  Funk is Sanders’ first

client to buy a ticket. The price? $200,000.  “The typical traveler would not say, ‘Where am I going

for my summer vacation?’ and then decide they’re going to outer space,” said Sanders.  Sanders

says most people who show interest are those who have done their research, and theyare a

variety of demographics. Some are affluent, but some have scraped and saved to make the trip

happen.  “I’ve met billionaires on Virgin Galactic’s trips. I’m not in that position,” said Funk.  For

Funk, this is a life-long dream she expects to fulfill in 2013.  “I was hoping it was gonna be this

year,” joked Funk. “I’ve waited a long time. So, I’m still waiting, and I’ll keep waiting. I will go. I will


visit for the new JETTAB 2.0 Android tablet…


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