Cochran was a celebrated woman pilot whose career spanned four decades from the 1930s to the 1960s. In 1937, she won the prestigious long-distance Bendix Trophy Race, flying from Los Angeles to Cleveland in a little more than eight hours. She later founded the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots), a group of civilian women who flew military aircraft in non-combat situations during World War II. In 1953 she became the first woman to break the sound barrier.