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.
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.
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.
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.