February 27, 1898 Maryse Bastie was born. Bastie came from a struggling family but by the 1920’s she had purchased her own plane and was performing in aerobatic shows to earn a living. By the 1930’s she had opened her own flight school and become a Captain in the French Air Force. She was awarded… Read more »
365 Female Flying Feats
February 26, 1958 Lt. Gen. Susan Jane Helms was born. Helms became an astronaut in 1991 and logged 5,064 hours in space. She holds the record for the longest spacewalk at 8 hours, 56 minutes. She returned to the Air Force in 2002 and is now the Commander of the 14th Air Force.
February 25, 1922 Molly Reilly, Canada’s first female charter airline captain, was born. When WWII broke out Reilly tried to join the Royal Canadian Air Force but was turned away. She became the Women’s Division’s first recruit in 1941.
February 24, 1994 Record smashing aviatrix Maude “Lores” Bonney passed away at age 96. In 1933 Bonney flew solo from Brisbane, Australia to London, England. Bonney’s perilous flight took place a full year before Amelia Earhart claimed fame by crossing the Atlantic but, unlike Earhart, Bonney did not have a publicist and was more interested… Read more »
February 23, 1909 Mabel Bell, wife of Alexander Graham Bell, funded the first airplane flight in Canada. On this date John McCurdy lifted off from Lake Bras d’Or, Nova Scotia, flying a Silver Dart sponsored by Mrs. Bell. Deaf since childhood, Mabel Bell was intensely interested in science and flight and had contributed over $35,000… Read more »
February 22, 1929 Californians Florence “Pancho” Barnes, Bobbi Trout, and Margaret Perry competed in the first women’s air race with Barnes coming out on top. This set the stage for the Women’s Transcontinental Air Race run that August from Santa Monica, California to Cleveland, Ohio. Will Rogers dubbed it the “Powder Puff Derby”.
February 21, 1943 Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas became the world’s first all female air base. Eighteen classes of WASP- Women’s Airforce Service Pilots-trained at Avenger. Over 25,000 women applied to become WASP, 1,830 were accepted, and 1,074 received their wings, most at Avenger Field. Today the airport houses the National WASP World War II… Read more »
February 20, 1875 Aviatrix, mountain climber, and champion bicyclist Marie Marvingt was born. She was the most decorated woman in the history of France, awarded many honors for founding Air Ambulances and working with the Red Cross in WWI. On her eightieth birthday she broke the sound barrier flying an Air Force fighter jet.
February 19, 1939 The movie TAILSPIN debuted, starring Alice Faye. Faye played a spunky girl forced to leave the air derby circuit when her plane crashed. After finding new sponsors she wins love and aviation glory!
February 18, 1912 Blanche Scott, the “Tomboy of the Air” flew in an outlaw airshow in Oakland, California. Billed as the “most famous aviatrix in the world,” Scott was paid $5000 for the six day event. Although credit is sometimes officially awarded to Bessica Raiche, in 1910 Scott had been the first American woman to… Read more »