365 Female Flying Feats

Fly On, Betty Scott

October 23, 1910 Betty Scott became the first woman to fly before an audience when she flew a Curtiss Pusher biplane at a demonstration in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She was the only woman Glenn Curtiss taught to fly. He didn’t believe women belonged in the air, but he never imagined Scott would stick with it,and… Read more »

Soar, soar Elinor!

October 21, 1928 Seventeen year old Elinor Smith flew her father’s Waco 10 biplane under the four East River bridges. Beneath the Brooklyn Bridge she flew between a tanker and a destroyer, flipping her plane into a vertical bank to thread through the narrow space. Overnight Elinor became world famous, earning her own radio show,… Read more »

Determined Bozena Laglerova

October 19, 1911 Czech Bozena Laglerova became the second woman to earn a German pilot’s license. She was already licensed in Austria. Less than a week later she crashed her plane near Prague and suffered life threatening injuries but she recovered and went on to fly in exhibitions and competitions throughout Germany.

Fly On Jean Batten

October 18, 1937 Jean Batten broke the record for a solo flight from Australia to England, the only person to simultaneously hold the record both from Australia to England and England to Australia. She was made a Commander of the British Empire, received the French Legion of Honor, and was the first woman to be… Read more »

Up In The Air, Mae Jemison

October 17, 1956 astronaut and physician Mae Jemison was born. Jemison became the first African American woman in space on board the space shuttle Endeavor in September 1992. Although discouraged by teachers, Jemison majored in engineering at Stanford University and obtained her medical degree from Cornell. Inspired by Sally Ride and Star Trek’s Lieutenant Uhuru,… Read more »

The Champ- Cecil “Teddy” Kenyon

October 16, 1933 99s charter member Teddy Kenyon won the National Sportswomen Flying Championship at Roosevelt Field, New York (Elinor Smith’s home airport). Kenyon was a test pilot for Grumman during WWII and flew well into her 70’s. Her collection of classic aviation photographs is housed in the Smithsonian.

Fay Gillis On The Scene

October 15, 1908 Pilot, reporter, and adventuress Fay Gillis was born. Gillis’s first career was demonstrating airplanes for Curtiss. She later became a star reporter and, as a White House correspondent, covered the Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations. She reported from Hollywood along with her pet leopard Snooks.

Ann Baumgartner, Jet Propelled

October 14, 1944 WASP test pilot Ann Baumgartner became the first woman to fly a jet when she piloted a Bell YP-59A. Young Baumgartner was first inspired to fly when Amelia Earhart spoke at her elementary school. She graduated from Smith College and worked as a reporter for the New York Times before joining the… Read more »