Katrina Mumaw, TSM’s First Protégé, To Graduate Air Force Academy!
By Ivor Dawson

May 21, 2006 (Colorado Springs, CO)

(The following message was received today from Katrina’s father Jim Mumaw regarding Katrina’s graduation and future goals. As the USAF handles all PR for their cadets, I can only contact Jim for Katrina updates)

Hi Ivor! 

Katrina is on track to graduate from the USAF Academy as a Second Lieutenant May 31 with a BS in Behavioral Science/Human Factors Engineering. From there, she will be headed to Scott AFB in Illinois for about a year and then onto Vance AFB in Oklahoma in July 2007 for Undergraduate Pilot Training.

At the end of the pilot training, the Air Force will determine what airframe they will have her fly. Right now, she's not giving a lot of thought to her goal of becoming an astronaut, as graduation from the Air Force Academy is just one small step in the many that must be completed to become an Air Force pilot. Then, depending upon her career from that point, she may well have the opportunity to head to Edwards at Test Pilot School and from there, depending upon the budget and current administrations of the nation and NASA, she may be able to see that goal come to fruition. With approximately 54 weeks of Undergraduate Pilot Training before anything else, she will be concentrating on first things first.

First semester, she was her squadron's Training Officer.

Currently she is the Academic Officer for her squadron.

She's wearing the Dean's Pin for Academic Excellence and the Commandant's Pin for Military Proficiency.

Last year, she earned the Gold German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge

Last summer, as part of the Academy's Operation Air Force, Katrina was at Osan AFB, Korea and, the summer before she was at Yakota AFB, Japan.

She's majoring in the Human Factors branch of Behavioral Science with a 3.7 majors GPA with a minor in German.

The Academy sent three pairs of cadets to Washington DC for a Human Factors seminar. Katrina was on one of the teams and Air Force came back after placing first, second and third competing with, among others, West Point & Annapolis.

Best Wishes!

The Traveling Space Museum is proud of our first protégé, Katrina Mumaw, who was inspiring to thousands of children across the country years before we met her. We are proud of the part that we paid in promoting her long before the Air Force discovered her. I myself will never forget the Blue Angels motorcade to the Air Base at El Cajon Ca. that was cruising at 100 mph!

(For background on Katrina, I’m reprinting an article I wrote back in May 30, 2002)

Katrina Mumaw, aka "The Fastest Kid on Earth", just received word in March that she has been accepted into the US Air Force Academy. No prospective Air Force cadet has ever been so prepared.

For those who have never heard of her, Katrina made the record books eight years ago when, at age 11, she went to Russia by herself and piloted a MiG 29 faster than 940 MPH.  She became the first child ever to achieve speeds faster than sound. 

She was acknowledged by the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum and featured on the TV program Ripley's Believe it or Not and Extreme Sport produced by The Learning Channel.

In 1999, the Navy's Blue Angels, seeking to recruit her, invited her to the opening of the Navy's Flight Demonstration Air Show at El Cajon Ca.  As VIPs, Katrina and her entourage were booked into the same hotel as the Blue Angels pilots and were a part of the official Naval Motorcade to the air show.  After the show, we were permitted to pose with the stunt pilots and Katrina was allowed to climb up and peek inside an F-18 Hornet’s interior. This was rare honor given to a 16 year old.    

With the call sign “Kat One, " Katrina amassed the best record in mock aerial dog fighting in real planes at the world famous Air Combat USA facility in Fullerton Ca.  Many experts believe that Ms. Mumaw could become the best combat pilot ever.  She is lighter then most other pilots, has better then 20/20 vision and has a lower center of gravity than a man and thus can withstand more"g" forces than the average male jet pilot.  Also, she is absolutely fearless-capable of aerobatics in unfamiliar planes.  Her goal is to become a test pilot and later an astronaut leading the first manned mission to Mars. Her sponsors include California State Senator Pete Knight, who himself holds the title of the "Fastest Man on Earth" having set the aeronautic speed record in the X-15 Rocket Plane.

Katrina has always found time to join in TSM events and is a willing role model for kids across the country. She even addressed the California State Assembly as an aviation expert.  Good luck Katrina and "check six!"

Katrina Firsts:

* Youngest to fly air combat maneuvers (dogfights) in real planes (age 8)

* Youngest to become an ace in such contests with 5 victories (the flying is real --the 'bullets' are electronic signals)

* Holds absolute record for this type of flying competition with over 140 victories winning over 78% of the one-on-one engagements.

* Youngest child in history to fly the BD-10 (Two seat version of prototype jet seen in James Bond movie.) (Age 10)

* First child in history to fly Russian military jet (L-39 Albatross jet trainer at Mach .8 with aerobatics outside Moscow at Zhukovsky Air Base (Age 11)

* First child in history to pilot an aircraft through the sound barrier in a MiG - 29 Fulcrum jet fighter at Mach 1.3 at Zhukovsky Air Base, Russia. (Age 11)

* Performed two outside loops in Extra 300 high performance aerobatic plane. (Age 12) 

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