Sunita Williams Circles The Stars

December 10, 2006 Astronaut Sunita Williams set off on board space shuttle Discovery to join the Expedition 14 crew on the International Space Station. She returned to earth on June 22, 2007, after 195 days the longest space flight by a woman. In orbit Williams donated her ponytail to Locks of Love. Astronaut Joan Higginbotham cut Williams hair and brought it back to earth with the STS-116 crew.

Wally Funk On The Scene

December 9, 1974 The National Transportation Safety Board hired Wally Funk as an Air Safety Investigator, the first woman to hold the job. With over 17,000 hours of flight time, Funk had aspired to be an astronaut and was one of the “Mercury 13”, chronicled by Tanya Lee Stone in ALMOST ASTRONAUTS.

Nancy Hopkins Spier Spins To New Heights

December 8, 1931 After recovering from a sudden spinning dive, Nancy Hopkins Tier earned her commercial transport license. Tier was a charter member of the Ninety Nines and became the president of the International Women’s Air and Space Museum.

Into The Air, Jeanne Herveau

December 7, 1910 Motor racer Jeanne Herveau earned her pilots license. In 1911 she opened an all female flying school but it failed to attract students. After setting a distance record of 63 miles Herveau retired from aviation.

Flying The Friendly Skies

December 6, 1935 TWA graduated its first class of air hostesses- trained to identify landmarks along the route, operate the aircraft heat system, and comfort passengers. Chief hostess Ruth Rhodes said “Women haven’t enough adventure in their lives. Flying through the air high above the earth, racing against time, absorbing the knowledge that after all, the world is one small place, was the most romantic thing a woman could do.”

Glide On Florence Taylor

December 5, 1909 Florence Mary Taylor became the first Australian woman to fly a heavier than air machine when she piloted a glider near Sydney before a crowd of over one hundred. Taylor was also the first woman architect in Australia and became famous as the publisher of many building and design magazines. It was said that she could draft a house in the time it took others to sharpen a pencil.

Special Delivery Linda Corbould

December 4, 2006 Wing Commander Linda Corbould delivered the Royal Australian Air Force’s first C-17 Globemaster III. Corbould joined the Air Force in 1981, serving as an air traffic controller until 1990 when women were allowed to train as pilots.

Judith Chisholm Zips Around The Globe

December 3, 1980 Judith Chisholm completed a record breaking around-the-world flight in fifteen days twenty two minutes. Chisholm was also the first female air traffic controller in Britain. “All (flying) takes is determination, an independent spirit, and thick skin,” she said.

Three Cheers For Ruth Law

December 2, 1916 President Woodrow Wilson honored Ruth Law at a dinner celebrating her record breaking flight from Chicago to New York. Law’s plane was underpowered and ran out of fuel before she made it to her destination in New York City, but manufacturer Glenn Curtiss had refused to sell her a stronger craft because he believed women should not fly.

Pauline Gower Flies England’s Skies

December 1, 1939 Pauline Gower founded the women’s division of the British Air Transport Auxiliary and became the first woman to fly a Royal Air Force plane. Gower’s first task was to recruit other woman pilots. By January she’d signed up ballerina Rona Rees and hockey player Mona Friedlander.