The news columns and editorial pages have taken up the item of Jacqueline Cochran's organizing a group of women pilots for service in England. Here is the perfect background for that story, by an aviation editor and writer. This is a brisk reportorial survey of the role of women in flight, from Mme. Blanchard, balloonist of the Napoleonic era, to the women of today. The first pilot was a Cuban debutante; then the first four licensed pilots; Phoebe Omlie, stunt flier; women who flew for newsprint , record flying -- and Amelia Earhart, greatest figure of them all. ""Angels"" who never flew -- hostesses -- instructors -- writers -- women in factory and field. A book for people already interested in the subject, but not particularly inspired in the handling. Good for school and public library reference shelves.