Climb Every Mountain Marie Marvingt

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.

Alice Faye Goes For A Spin

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!

Blanche Scott Gets Up And Goes

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 fly an airplane. That year she was also one of the first women to drive a car cross-country, traveling from New York to San Francisco.

Faye “Rusty” Cox Rogers Takes The Leap

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 parachute riggers.

Valentina Tereshkova Wins The Space Race

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 Olympics.

Ida Van Smith Passes It On

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 flight and careers in aviation. Smith’s graduates went on to be Air Force and Navy pilots and fly planes for airlines. To learn more about Ida Van Smith and the International Women’s Air and Space Museum visit

Katharine Wright Flies Too!

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 can read more about Katharine Wright in Richard Maurer’s book The Wright Sister.

Young Eagle Duana Robinson

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.

Lady Mary Heath Takes Wing

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 became the first women to earn a commercial ticket.

A Book Launched Janice Voss Into Space

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 thing I had ever read. (T)hat’s what got me an interest in space and my path to be an astronaut.”