"Pilots, Man Your Planes!"   
                                         WWII U.S. Naval Aviation Collector's Guide                                                                              
Above:  Some of the Grumman factory's staff of civilian Production Test Pilots. Each aircraft had to be test flown after rolling off the assembly line. As seen in the video, aerial activity around the factory was constant. Shown here, left to right, are Roy "Pappy" Seligman, Herb Crawford, Pat Gallo, Carl Alber, Corwin "Corky" Meyers and Fred Rowly. The majority of their flight gear and clothing is standard Navy issue. Featured in the opening sequence of our video, but not shown here, is Selden "Connie" Converse who made the first flight of a production F6F-3. As seen in our background photo, three women were among their numbers.

Below:  Barbara Kibbee Jayne, Elizabeth Hooker and Cecile "Teddy" Kenyon grab the last of their flight gear in the test pilot's equipment room. They appear to be using the Pioneer model P1-B-24, which was adopted by both the USAAF and the Navy as their type B-8. 
Below:  A bit more diversity is shown by the women in their choice of flying attire. In addition to the Navy M-450 flight helmets and M-422a jackets worn by two of them, we can see AAF A-4 flight suits, an A-2 jacket, a commercial cap, goggles, boots and gloves being put to use. "Teddy's" husband was the flight engineer at the Grumman plant and Barbara's husband, LT J. M. Jayne, flew Hellcats for the Navy.
Above:  As seen in the video, Barbara Jayne wears an H.L.B. Corp. M-450 helmet fitted with TC-66 earcups, commercial pigskin gloves and AO Transport goggles.

Below:  Secure in the cockpit, she calls the tower  for clearance before starting her takeoff run.
Above:  In another screen capture, we see Carl Alber, Fred Rowly and Herb Crawford.  Alber is wearing a MK-I life vest and A-8B oxygen mask with bail-out bottle. We can speculate that his test flight will take him above 10,000 feet and out over the North Shore and nearby Long Island Sound.

Below:  "Teddy" Kenyon was a bit of a celebrity. Here she is featured in a tobacco company ad from the June 10th, 1944 issue of the Saturday Evening Post. 
Below:  Thanks to the October 1944 issue of American Magazine's article "Hellcat teasers", we get a glimpse of the women's flight gear in color. "Teddy's" bright red cap is a surprise, but also of interest are the blue lenses of Elizabeth's Seesall goggles.
Above:  "Teddy" also flew the Avenger torpedo bombers before their production was taken over by General Motors' Eastern Aircraft Division. If the paint scheme in this photo looks a bit different, it's for good reason. She is at the controls of one of the 402 Tarpon 1s (TBF-1) that Grumman built for the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm. In addition to bearing British national markings, they were camouflaged in the DuPont equivalents of slate gray and dark sea gray over sky.

Below: This color image of the factory flight line gives a better idea of the dramatic difference between the US Navy and the Royal Navy camouflage schemes. Once again, we see the scooters in use, delivering Grumman pilots for their flight tests.
The ladies hitch a ride on one of the Cushman scooters that were used to speed the pilots to the flight line. Due to their preference for back parachutes, the large cushions they carry were needed to replace the expected combination of seat parachute and pararaft the Hellcat's seat was designed to hold.
 
         Grumman at War