April 14, 1912 Exhibition pilot Matilde Moisant’s plane crashed when a leaky fuel tank set fire to the wings. Her heavy wool clothes protected her from being horribly injured, but Moisant’s brother had been killed in a flying accident the year before, and she promised her family she would retire from the air. During World… Read more »
365 Female Flying Feats
April 13, 1931 Ruth Nichols set a women’s speed record of 610.69 miles per hour in her Lockheed Vega. She is the only woman who hold simultaneous records for speed, altitude, and distance. The propeller from Nichols’ plane is on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Her hopes to be the first woman… Read more »
April 12, 1909 Evelyn “Pinky” Pinkert was born, the eighth of ten children. In 1938 she became the first female flight instructor in the U.S. and during WWII she joined the WASP, ferrying planes for the Army. Pinkert’s true love was aerobatics. She said “Once a bird soars it can never settle for a stroll.”… Read more »
April 11, 1913 Russian Princess Eugenie Shakhovskaya crashed a Wright biplane and vowed never to fly again. She broke her promise when she became the first female military pilot, flying reconnaissance missions during World War I.
April 10, 1930 Mary Russell, the Duchess of Bedford, set off on a record breaking flight from London to Cape Town, South Africa, making the 9000 mile trip in ten days. She had soloed only two days before. The Duchess was over sixty when she flew for the first time.
April 9, 1909 Helene Detrieu circled the Belfield Tower in Annecy, France on her way to Bruges, Belgium. She created a scandal when she told reporters she flew without wearing a corset. Detrieu won many air races and, in 1912, she became the first woman to pilot a seaplane.
April 8, 1889 The first woman to fly solo, Blanche “Betty” Stuart Scott, was born. In 1910, Scott had been the second woman to drive a car across country, from New York to San Francisco. Her trip caught airplane designer Glenn Curtiss’ attention and later that year he offered to teach Scott to fly. Curtiss… Read more »
April 7, 1940 The 99s, the international organization of women pilots, founded the Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarship for girls and women studying aviation. The scholarships continue to pay for flight training, academic research, and up to $5000 toward college tuition for women studying aviation or aerospace. To date more than $4 million dollars has been… Read more »
April 6, 1909 Aviation pioneer Peggy Kelman was born in Glasgow, Scotland. Kelman fell in love with flying as a child and in 1936 when she married an Australian they flew a small plane from Scotland to Australia via France, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, India, Burma, Malaya, Java, Timor, Darwin and Moree, using… Read more »
April 5, 2008 The Waco Air Museum in Dayton, Ohio opened a “Women of Waco” exhibit, honoring women who flew Waco airplanes. Among those saluted was Elinor Smith who flew her father’s Waco 10 under New York’s four East River bridges. Smith set a number of altitude records in the plane while she was a… Read more »