April 2011

April 29, 1911 Pilot Clema Baxter married air racer Jim Granger.  By 1933, they had three sons, all pilots. Known as “The Flying Grangers” the entire family performed as stunt pilots in Hollywood movies like “Dawn Patrol,” “Wings,” and “The Yellow Ticket.”

Amy Johnson

April 28, 1927 Legal secretary Amy Johnson took a bus to Stags Leap Aerodrome and begged to be allowed to take lessons. After a sixth month wait she began training, earning her license in July, 1929.  With her father’s help she bought a Havilland Gipsy Moth and became the first woman to fly from England to Australia. During WWII she flew ferrying missions for the RAF and was shot down in an incident allegedly involving friendly fire.

April 27, 1904 Marvel Crosson was born in Warsaw, Indiana. Eighteen year old Crosson and her brother bought a wrecked seaplane for $150, replaced the wheels with parts they bought from a junkyard, and taught themselves to fly. She became a bush pilot in Alaska and set a women’s altitude record in 1929. Later that year she was killed in a crash at the first Women’s Air Derby, amidst charges that her plane had been sabotaged.

April 26, 1812 Sophie Blanchard piloted a hydrogen balloon from Turin, Italy to France. During the flight icicles formed on her hands. Her small balloon, filled with gas rather than hot air, carried a basket no bigger than a chair.

 

April 23, 2007 Iris Peterson, age 85, retired as United Airlines most senior flight attendant. She started her career in 1946, serving as a chief lobbyist for the Airline Stewards Association, and helping to develop safety procedures when the airline introduced the first jumbo aircraft. Peterson flew actively until she retired.

April 21, 1995 Sarah M. Deal became the first female pilot in the United States Marine Corps when she earned her wings flying a Sea Ranger helicopter. Although Deal had earned her pilots license in college the Marines did not accept women pilots when she enlisted so she trained as an air traffic controller. In 1993, when the Marines lifted their ban on female aviators, Deal was among the first accepted for training.

April 20, 1930 Anne Morrow Lindbergh and her husband Charles set a transcontinental speed record, flying from Los Angeles to New York in 14 hours and 45 minutes. Although she was seven months pregnant at the time, Anne acted as navigator.

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April 19, 1930 Trained electrician and motorcycle delivery girl Florence “Tree Tops” Klingensmith set off an aerobatic duel, flying 143 loops. Later that summer Laura Ingalls raised the record to 344, then to 980. Finally, on June 22, 1931, Klingensmith took off from Wold Chamberlain Field in Minneapolis. Before 50,000 spectators, she looped for 4 1/2 hours, racking up a groggy 1078 loops.

April 18, 1964 The governor of Ohio proclaimed “Jerrie Mock Day” in honor of the first woman to fly around the world solo. The trip took 29 days with 21 stopovers. Mock’s Cessna 180 was displayed at the Cessna museum in Kansas for many years and is now at the Smithsonian’s Garber facility. She set at least a half dozen aviation records and detailed her experiences in her book Three-Eight Charlie.

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