Gene Nora Jessen

Half Fast

Touchdown! Greaser!
May 7, 2016
Central Florida
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Some of you may know or be familiar with Mrs. Gene Nora Jessen, a very special lady in the Beech community, especially among those of us who fly the baby Beeches. Gene Nora passed away May 21 at age 87.

Gene Nora was one of the Mercury 13, a group of women selected for selected for astronaut training in a short-lived program (Wally Funk was also part of the group, and I think she's the last surviving member). After the program was cancelled, she went to work for Beechcraft and was one of three pilots on a 48-state promotional tour to introduce the new Musketeer line of airplanes. The tale of that tour is told in Gene Nora's book The Fabulous Flight Of the Three Musketeers. The plane which she flew on that tour, N2303Z (known as "Threesie") is now owned by the Beech Aero Club and is on display at the Beechcraft Heritage Museum in Tullahoma, TN. Gene Nora went on to have a long and distinguished career in aviation, serving in many different roles.

Fair winds and clear skies, Gene Nora. You will be long remembered.