Amelia Earhart Tries The Skies

December 28, 1920 Twenty-three year old Amelia Earhart went on her first airplane flight as a passenger, paying pilot Frank Hawks $10 for a ride at the California State Fair. “By the time I had got two or three hundred feet off the ground I knew I had to fly,” she said. A year later she had earned her pilot’s license.

Reach For The Stars, Naoko Yamazaki

December 27, 1970 Astronaut Naoko Yamazaki was born in Matsudo, Japan. On April 5, 2010 Yamazaki flew into space as a member of the STS-131 crew, delivering the Leonardo large module to the International Space Station. She logged over 362 hours in space.



Louise Faure-Favier, a pen with wings

December 26, 1921 Aviation buff and journalist Louise Faure-Favier published the first in flight magazine, Guides des Voyages Aeriens, Paris-Londres. Faure-Favier wrote countless magazine articles and stories. Her most famous novel, Blanche et Noire, published in 1928, was a groundbreaking story about race relations.

Soar Rein-does!

December 25 The world’s premier all-female flight crew, commonly known as Santa’s Reindeer, have accomplished another global gift giving mission. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game confirms that Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen are, in fact, Rein-does. “Male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid December. Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring. Therefore, according to every historical rendition depicting Santa’s reindeer, every single one of them … has to be a female.” Since 1939, the all female crew has occasionally been accompanied by a juvenile male mascot, Rudolf.

Ruth Chatterton, The Flying Filmstar

December 24, 1893 Actress and aviatrix Ruth Chatterton was born. Chatterton was nominated for an Academy Award for her roles in Madam X and Sarah and Son. An avid pilot, she made several transcontinental solo flights and sponsored the Ruth Chatterton Air Derby, a test of precision flying.

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Sophie Blanchard, Roman Candle

December 23, 1811 Sophie Blanchard, the world’s first female professional balloonist, took off in Rome, falling into a “profound sleep” and ascending to 11,000 feet. Blanchard was nervous and excitable on land but fearless in the air. After her husband’s death in a ballooning accident Sophie had taken over his exhibition business specializing in night flights and an act in which she parachuted dogs or fireworks from the balloon basket.

Teach Them Well Jeanne Herveu

December 22, 1911 Auto racer Jeanne Herveu (sometimes spelled Herveux or Herveau) opened an all female flying school in France. At the time few traditional flying schools accepted female students.

Helene Dutrieu Takes The Coupe

December 21, 1910 Motorcycle champion Helene Dutrieu won the Coupe Femina, a prize awarded each year to the woman who flew the longest in both time and distance. On this day, Dutrieu flew 103.8 miles in 2 hours, 35 minutes and was the first woman to remain airborn for more than an hour.

Fly! Fly! Fly! Viola Gentry

December 20, 1928 Viola Gentry set the first official women’s endurance record, flying 8 hours, 6 minutes, 37 seconds in an open cockpit Travelair biplane. She set off a three way aerial duel between herself, Bobbi Trout, and Elinor Smith. Elinor eventually won, flying over 26 and a half hours, a record that still stands.

Love Is In The Air With Peggy McKillop and Colin Kelman

December 19, 1937 Barnstorming newlyweds Peggy McKillop and Colin Kelman took off on a whirlwind honeymoon from London to France, Italy, Greece, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, India, Burma, Malaya, Java, Timor, Darwin, and Moree, finally landing home in Australia on January 15, 1937.