February 17, 1930 With less than one hour’s training, Faye “Rusty” Cox Rogers leapt from an airshow biplane, replacing the regular parachutist who’d broken his back. She went on to perform throughout the Southwest, called “the famous girl chute jumper,” and held records for altitude and endurance. During WWII Rogers operated a ground school training… Read more »
365 Female Flying Feats
February 16, 1962 The Soviet Space Commission selected Valentina Tereshkova and four other women to join their cosmonaut corps. Before becoming a cosmonaut Tereshkova had worked on a factory assembly line. In 1963 she became the first woman in space. Still a hero in Russia today, Tereshkova was a torch bearer for the 2008 Moscow… Read more »
February 15, 2006 The International Women’s Air and Space Museum opened an exhibit honoring African-American pilot and teacher Ida Van Smith. Smith was a fifty year old mother and teacher when she took her first flying lesson. In 1967 she opened the Ida Van Smith Flight Clubs, teaching children from ages three to nineteen about… Read more »
February 14, 1909 Katharine Wright flew with her brother Wilbur in their new Wright flyer. Katherine was a college-educated teacher and a full partner in her brothers’ airplane enterprise. Although it was rumored that Katherine sewed the wing muslin for the first Wright Flyer she always denied any physical involvement in building the plane. You… Read more »
February 13, 1978 Texas International Airlines hired twenty-one-year-old Duana Robinson to pilot their DC 9, making her the world’s youngest woman flying for a passenger airline. In 1982 Texas International merged with Continental Airlines.
February 12, 1928 Lady Mary Heath took off from Capetown, South Africa in her quest to become the first person to fly solo from South Africa to England. She thought the trip would take three weeks. It ended up lasting three months. Heath fought England’s ban on women holding commercial pilot’s licenses and in 1926… Read more »
ebruary 11, 2000 Astronaut Janice Voss lifted off aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor for her fifth and final space flight. A book led Voss into space. “I happened to pick up the year before my sixth grade, which is in 1966, a copy of Madeleine L’Engle’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time.’… it was the most interesting… Read more »
February 10, 1929 Bobbi Trout dueled with Elinor Smith for the title of longest flight by a woman. Trout took off from Mines Field in Los Angeles and landed 17 hour 5 minutes later. Newspapers proclaimed “Tomboy’ Stays in Air 17 Hours to Avoid Washing Dishes.” Elinor would settle the score in April with a… Read more »
February 9, 1960 Peggy Whitson was born in Mt. Ayr, Iowa. Whitson, a biochemistry researcher, became the first woman to command the International Space Station. She is NASA’s most experienced astronaut with over 376 days in space, spread across two high-endurance missions.
February 8, 2007 Astronaut Sunita Williams performed a spacewalk from the International Space Station. Astronaut Eileen Collins noted “she truly is a space marathoner who shows young women everywhere that there’s a place in the space program for them.” Williams had launched aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery as a part of Expedition 14. By April… Read more »