Two aviators making history. Two Americans serving their country. One incredible story spanning fifty years and two generations.
Ben Smotherman, a B-17 pilot in World War II, valiantly fought in the European Theater of Operations before being shot down over Holland in July 1943. After enduring twenty-one months as a prisoner of war, he was finally reunited with his loved ones and was able to start a family. Years later, after perusing his Wartime Log, his daughter Jan made discoveries about her father’s experiences that shed light on her own life path. As a Space Shuttle astronaut, Jan Davis went through intensive training, flew NASA jets, and completed three spaceflights, spending over 673 hours on orbit. Her experiences and emotions during her launches and space travel echoed those of her father during his combat missions, highlighting the unshakable bond between father and daughter.
With Air Born, you can join in on a flight through history as Jan Davis relates her father’s heroic service and draws connections between his combat missions and her own spaceflights. Discover the ins and outs of pilot training in the 1940s alongside Ben Smotherman and bear witness to his harrowing capture, interrogation, and imprisonment at Stalag Luft III. Rejoice with the POWs as World War II finally ends and the prisoners are returned home to continue pursuing their life’s goals. Shadow Jan Davis as she expertly navigates a career characterized by space exploration, scientific experimentation, and phenomenal feats of engineering. And draw inspiration from the intersection of two completely different yet uniquely connected worlds brought together by a common link of family and flying.