The Sky Is No Limit For Barbara Morgan

November 28, 1951 Astronaut and teacher Barbara Morgan was born. Morgan was selected as the backup candidate in NASA’s Teachers In Space program and trained with Christa McAullife. After the Challenger disaster Morgan returned to Idaho to teach second and third grade, but in 1988 NASA called on her to become a full time astronaut. In 2007 she flew into space as a member of the STS-118 crew. Morgan’s words “Reach for your dreams … the sky is no limit.” are etched into the wall of the Walt Disney World Mission: Space exhibit.

Soar, Elinor… and Bobbi Trout, too!

November 27, 1929 Elinor Smith and Bobbi Trout took off in a Sunbeam biplane to become the first women to refuel in mid-air. With Elinor flying the plane and Bobbi operating the gas hose, they intended to stay in the air for over 100 hours. Unfortunately, the fuel plane, a rickety Curtiss Pigeon, lost altitude and could not keep up. At the 36 hour mark the Pigeon’s engine failed completely. Elinor kept the Sunbeam aloft for another six and a half hours until its tank was completely dry and set the woman’s refueling endurance record at 42 1/2 hours.

Lady Hawk Helene Dutrieu

November 25, 1910 Helene Dutrieu became the fourth licensed female pilot. Known as “Lady Hawk” because of her daring, she began setting altitude records soon after her first solo flight, but the FAI refused to recognize her early records because she was female. She beat male pilots in aviation competitions and narrowly escaped death at least twice. The press was scandalized when Dutrieu revealed she did not wear a corset while flying.

Grace Koepp Oversees It All

November 24, 2009 Grace Koepp, age 93 flew as a passenger in a Cessna 182 piloted by Anne Noel, fullfilling a promise to see Koepp’s Nebraska family farm from the air.

WASP Get Their Due

November 23, 1977 President Jimmy Carter signed legislation to grant veteran status to the women who served in the WASP. The Women’s Airforce Service Pilots was established during World War II to fly non-combat missions within the United States however they did not receive the same pay or benefits as male pilots. On July 1, 2009 President Barack Obama presented the WASP with the Congressional Gold Medal.

Let It Snow, Marlene Shillingford

November 22, 1992 Marlene Shillingford was appointed Crew Chief of the Snowbirds, the Canadian Air Force’s aerobatic team. Unlike the Thunderbirds’ or Blue Angels’ focus on power and speed, the Canadian team emphasizes precise formation flying.

Fly High Lyubov Golanchikova

November 21, 1912 Former Vaudeville dancer Lyubov Golanchikova set a women’s altitude record of 7218 feet in a Fokker Eindecker. Golanchikova became an overnight sensation and the German army adopted the Fokker as their military aircraft of choice.

Fly Away Bessie Coleman

November 20, 1920 After taking a French class from Berlitz, Bessie Coleman set sail for France to learn to fly because no American flight school would accept an African American student. She became the first African American woman to earn a pilot’s license. Back in Chicago, she discovered there were no opportunities for women in commercial aviation. She went back to France for aerobatics training and became a barnstormer, making daring exhibition flights across the US. In 1926, at the age of 34, Coleman’s biplane went into a tailspin during a show. She was not wearing her seatbelt and fell to her death.

Dolly Shepherd’s Flying Trapeze

November 19, 1886 Balloonist and parachutist Elizabeth “Dolly” Shepherd was born in Potters Bar, England. She was the Edwardian era’s most famous balloonist, swinging from a trapeze suspended from her balloon before plunging back to earth with a parachute. She got her start with Buffalo Bill Cody’s show. After a year serving as Buffalo Bill’s shooting act target she moved on to balloons and became the star of the show.