Vintage Aviation Posters and the Role of Women

Vintage Aviation Posters and the Role of Women

From the dawn of aviation artists have delighted us with incredible works including the niche world of aviation advertising poster art. Looking back, these same posters now give us an interesting perspective on the artist’s perception of the role women played in aviation. These beautiful posters were a popular means of advertising movies, airshows, war efforts, airlines and events across the world. Much of the artwork created was glamorous and alluring and, at a quick glance, instantly conveyed a story. Occasionally the mass produced aviation themed posters showed women in the role of pilot or ground crew. More frequently though women were portrayed as the adoring, awe struck, frightened and always attractive fem fatale imagined by the artist who created it. The evidence begins with pinup girls from WWII and goes back in time from there. Above: Mercier Jacques / 1932. “The Four of the Aviation” by Richard Dix, with Richard Von Strohëim & Mary Astor. Large size French movie poster, printed in stone-lithography. The Grande Semaine d’Aviation de la Champagne was an aviation meet held near Reims in France during August 1909. It was the first international public flying event and was seen as marking the coming of age of heavier-than-air aviation. Unknown. Deutsche Lufthansa Airline Poster Flieger Ball. 1928. Art Deco Aviation Fashion Print Chinese aviatrix TITLE : Meeting d’aviation. ARTIST  Ch.Bsor Droits. Year: 1910 Flieger Zur See by Hans Rudi Erdt. Title: Women Come and Help. Artist: Anonymous. Year of Publication: 1917.  Before American women heard the call to join the war effort, women in the United Kingdom had been serving at home and in Europe. This recruiting poster, commissioned by the United Kingdom’s Director of Training of the Ministry of Munitions, attempted to recruit women for manufacturing jobs in the aviation industry. Whether these posters show women as an active participant in aviation or as the perpetual beauty supporting the aviation cause, they are all part of our women’s aviation history. I enjoy and respect them all albeit, some a little more than others. Times have changed but I hope the romance of aviation never dies....

Aviatrix Bettie Lund

Aviatrix Bettie Lund

Bettie Lund Aviatrix Bettie Lund grew up in the very early days of aviation. While flying was romantic and daring in 1929, pilots frequently lost their lives. 1929 was the year Bettie met her soon to be husband, stunt pilot Freddie Lund. After graduating high school, she followed him around the country as he barnstormed and did aerial stunts from 1929 to 1931. Along the way Freddie taught her to fly. In the publication “Science and Invention”, Bettie tells how she did 67 barrel rolls in 28 minutes, setting a woman’s world record. Bettie says, “Prior to this record-breaking flight in Miami (my fourth solo), I had only 20 minutes to my credit in the air, alone, and I had never performed any stunts. But my husband, Freddie Lund, was the first pilot to perform an outside loop in a commercial airplane, and he had taught me to fly, and taken me around. So, I felt quite confident.” Freddie Lund was killed while flying a Waco Taperwing during an air race in 1931. Andy Heins says of Lund’s demise in this airplane, “He died on October 3, 1931 in Lexington, KY at Halley Field. He was participating in a pylon race when C. B. “Scotty” Burmood [not a Register pilot], flying a Monocoupe, pulled up into Freddie while rounding a pylon. The tailskid of the Waco went through the top of the fuselage, damaging the main spar. The prop of the Monocoupe completely cut off the tail of the Waco just forward of the horizontal stabilizer. The Waco pitched up and then rolled and Freddie bailed out but was too low for the chute to open properly. The Waco hit the ground and burst into flames immediately and Freddie landed about 200 yards from the crash. Burmood was able to make it back to the airport and land safely.” October 24, 1931, three weeks after her husband’s death, and still wearing mourning attire, Bettie performed for a crowd at Droyer’s Point Field, carrying on the tradition. Soon after, Bettie went out and bought herself a Waco Taperwing, painted it red, white and blue like Freddie’s, and began her own solo career. By the late 1930’s she was one of the country’s top stunt pilots. Bettie served as a WAF during World War II and transported airplanes from the manufacturing plants on the west coast to the east coast where they were  transported to Europe. Resources: http://jondolar.hubpages.com/hub/My-Barnstorming-Aunt# http://www.dmairfield.com/people/lund_fr/index.html...

Aviatrix from the past: Matilde E. Moisant

Aviatrix from the past: Matilde E. Moisant

We all know by now that Harriet Quimbly is credited with being the first woman to receive her pilot’s certificate in 1911 but does anyone ever remember #2 of anything? Mike Williams sent me the link to the 2nd woman to receive her pilots certificate, Matilde E. Moisant, because he knew I’d be interested in her Indiana connection. Born in 1878 in Indiana (let that soak in —- 1878) Moisant learned to fly at Alfred’s Moisant Aviation School on Long Island, New York. In 1911, a few weeks after her friend Harriet Quimby received her pilot’s certificate, Matilde Moisant became the second woman pilot certified by the Aero Club of America. She pursued a career in exhibition flying. In September 1911, she flew in the air show at Nassau Boulevard airfield in Garden City, New York and, while competing against Hélène Dutrieu, Moisant broke the women’s altitude world record and won the Rodman-Wanamaker trophy by flying to 1,200′. (100 Years later I can hit that in my S7 by the end of the runway on a cold day!) Moisant stopped flying on April 14, 1912 in Wichita Falls, Texas when her plane crashed (the same day that the Titanic sank). Less than two months later, her friend Harriet Quimby was killed when she fell from her plane. Although Moisant recovered from her injuries, she gave up flying and moved to the family plantation in San Salvador.  ...

Blanche Stuart Scott

Blanche Stuart Scott

Was Blanche Stuart Scott America’s first aviatrix or should that honor go to Bessica Faith Raiche, the woman “officially” credited with achieving the first flight by a woman in America? You decide. Blanche Stuart Scott was born in 1885 and became an early enthusiast of the automobile. As a youngster her father bought a car and she drove it around New York in a time before there were minimum age restrictions on driving. In 1910 she became the first woman to drive a car westbound from New York to San Francisco. Incredibly it took Scott and her passenger, a woman reporter named Gertrude Buffington Phillips, 67 days to reach San Francisco on July 23, 1910. The day after they departed the New York Times wrote on May 17, 1910: Miss Scott, with Miss Phillips as only companion, starts on long trip with the object of demonstrating the possibility of a woman driving a motor car across the country and making all the necessary repairs en route. Miss Blanche Stuart Scott yesterday started in an Overland automobile on a transcontinental journey which will end in San Francisco. As the ladies drove through Dayton, Ohio, Scott was fascinated by the activities of two brothers who had made the first heavier-than-air flight only seven years earlier – Orville and Wilbur Wright. Arriving in California, she arranged her first airplane ride. Luckily, her cross-country drive gained her national attention and she was approached by the head of the Curtiss Exhibition Co., who persuaded her to join the Curtiss team for air shows and exhibitions. Glenn Curtiss wasn’t happy about women learning to fly but agreed to give Scott lessons. She was the first and only woman ever taught by Curtiss personally, according to Claudia Oakes, author of “United States Women in Aviation through World War I.” On Sept. 2, 1910, Scott became the first American woman to make a solo flight. Whether this flight was intentional or not is open to debate. What is known is that Curtiss had fitted a limiter on the throttle of Scott’s 35-horsepower airplane to prevent it from gaining enough speed to become airborne while she practiced taxiing. But on that day “something happened” to the throttle block and Scott rose about 40 feet in the air before making a gentle landing. She became the first woman to fly at a public event in America and her exhibition flying earned her the nickname “Tomboy of the Air”. She became an accomplished stunt pilot known for flying upside down and performing “death dives”, diving from an altitude of 4000 feet and suddenly pulling up only 200 feet from the ground. In 1911 she became the first woman in America to fly long distance when she flew 60 miles non-stop. In 1912 Scott contracted to fly for Glen Martin and became the first female test pilot when she flew Martin prototypes before the final blueprints for the aircraft had been made. She retired from flying in 1916 because she was bothered by the public’s interest in air crashes and an aviation industry which allowed no opportunity for women to become mechanics or engineers. Blanche lived a long life and died at the age of 84 in 1970. Should Blanche have gotten credit for the first flight by a woman in America? Probably. But all these years later, how can you read about Blanche and Bessica, see the pictures, and not be awestruck by how far WOMEN and AVIATION have come in one short century?! We owe a lot to those that blazed the trail before us....

The Gals that Blazed The Trail – Then & Now Video

The Gals that Blazed The Trail – Then & Now Video

Girls, hope you enjoy this latest LadiesLoveTaildraggers video. Like most of you, I am in awe of and have a true appreciation for all the women pilots who came before us. This short video includes some of those women and many of our newest LadiesLoveTaildraggers members....

Pilots from the Past: Eleanor Dorman & Marvel Crosson

Pilots from the Past: Eleanor Dorman & Marvel Crosson

Vintage aviatrix photo collector Andy Heins forwarded some more great photos of women aviatrix from the past (thank you Andy!) and I picked these to post first. It’s an interesting adventure searching the net trying to find out who all these women pilots from the past were. They all had a story that should be told.  Some names are well known, others not so much and some unnamed. If you have any information about these women, please feel free to add your comments. I would be interested to know more and I’ll bet everyone else would too. The first photo is of Eleanor Dorman flying an Aeronca C-3, one of my bucket list “MUST fly someday” taildraggers. Check out the recent post of Lorraine Morris flying a friend’s C-3? What a dream come true! Link to Dec 23, 1936 newspaper article; The Evening Independent: Girl Pilot Makes Her First Flight The article says “Miss Dorman piloted a little Aeronca plane” but that’s all I could find. I’m guessing this picture is from her first solo in the very Aeronca C-3 described. ————————– Marvel Crossen was born in 1904 in Warsaw, Indiana and died at age 28 competing in the 1929 Women’s Air Race in this Travel Air. Marvel was the first women to receive her pilot’s license in Alaska. As you may know, there were many reports of “tampering” with the ladies’ aircrafts during the first Air Race and the reports show that Marvel’s aircraft was included in that number. Warsaw Daily Times Tuesday August 20, 1929 front page:  Shortly before the 14 contestants remaining in the race began leaving the airport here for today’s jaunt to Douglas, Ariz., reports of finding the body of Miss Marvel Crosson, in a clump of bushes were received from Welton. She had been killed on yesterday’s stage of the race when her plane went into a tail spin. Reports from Welton indicated that she had attempted to jump to safety as her body, the parachute unopened, lay 200 feet from the wreckage of her plane. In addition to the gloom caused by the death of one of America’s best known feminine pilots the women were disturbed by Thea Rusche and Claire Fahy claiming that someone had tampered with their planes. Although these reports were not proved they were enough to send tremors of uneasiness and dissent through the highly strung group. Miss Crosson’s accident merely added weight to suspicion that some of the planes had been weakened in an attempt to force them out of the race. Bobbi Trout, former holder of the women’s endurance flight record, and Opal Kunz, New York, also said they believed their instruments had been misadjusted while still in California. Investigation of the death of Marvel Crosson and of charges of sabotage made by participants in the air derby for women was launched today by Floyd J. Logan, chairman of the national air meet here.” ———————...

Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock     (Florida)

Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock (Florida)

Ladies, Carl Hicks Jr., Executive Director of the Recreational Aviation Foundation, recently sent me a very interesting note and a couple of eye opening links… “So Will We Ever See Honored the First Woman to Fly Around the World, Solo, (in a taildragger of course?) I think you gals ought to really hold her up as the ultimate role model! Warm Wishes, Carl” I have to agree with Carl, she is the ultimate role model and I can’t help but wonder how many of us know her name and her accomplishment? Jerrie Mock flew solo around the world in 1964 in a Cessna 180! Thank you Carl for helping spread the word about this remarkable lady taildragger pilot! I understand Jerrie currently resides in Florida but I have not been able to confirm it?? ————————————————— Aviation’s Forgotten Pioneer – A Woman on a Mission By: Dan Pimentel From: http://www.articlespan.com  and April 2005 issue AOPA Pilot Stop by the coffee shop at any local airport and you’ll find a couple of tables filled with general aviation pilots telling hangar stories, those wonderfully famous exaggerations of yesterday’s flying adventures. Everyone at the table will be an aviation historian on some level, each with his or her own wealth of knowledge, each happy to tell you about it. Ask them anything, and chances are the answer will be provided faster than Google could deliver it from somewhere out in cyberspace. If you want to score the trivia equivalent of a slam-dunk, stroll up and ask them this one question, and watch as their faces go blank: “Who was the first woman to fly solo around the world?” Of course, everyone at the table will agree that a complex 23,206-mile, 19-stop flight around the globe alone in a Cessna 180 would be a noteworthy accomplishment. But ask someone to provide the name of the courageous woman who made such a significant and historic flight in 1964, and you’ll win that trivia contest every time. Oh sure, someone at the table will let the coffee do the talking and shout out, “Amelia Earhart,” only to be quickly corrected by someone else who explains that Earhart failed to complete the mission when she and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared in the South Pacific. Right at that moment you tell them the famous aviation pioneer was Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock. She was a determined 38-year-old mother of three who left Port Columbus Airport in Ohio on March 19, 1964, and returned there 29 days later to a raucous welcome by 3,000 fans, completing the first solo around-the-world flight by a woman pilot. Her flight should be considered by aviators to be more technically challenging than Charles Lindbergh’s, and more successful than Earhart’s. But because of a number of events that collectively worked against her, Mock’s accomplishment fell through the cracks of the history books, and the story of her flight has remained hidden for 41 years. Like most pilots, Mock’s passion for aviation was ignited at a very young age, when her father, Tim Fredritz, arranged a ride in a Ford Tri-motor in 1931. Once the Tri-motor’s wheels left the sod runway, this young aviatrix was hooked for life. Jerrie grew up and married Russ Mock, also a pilot, and despite the responsibilities of a growing family, earned her private pilot certificate in 1958. She soon opened a flight school and aircraft rental business and continued spreading her wings as a pilot with longer and longer cross-country flights to destinations such as the Caribbean and New Brunswick. During this time, an event took place on the small French Canadian island of St. Pierre that may have foreshadowed Mock’s future. “Russ and I were eating in the dining room of the hotel, and I noticed there was a wireless room next door,” Mock said. “I could hear pilots reporting their positions over the North Atlantic, and I was fascinated. It was all very exciting to me.” Since childhood, Mock had dreamed of visiting faraway destinations, just like a woman she had admired, Amelia Earhart. Those early around-the-world dreams began to come together for Mock around 1960 when a neighbor who was also an Air Force pilot gave her an outdated collection of world airways charts. Soon the walls in the basement of Mock’s Bexley, Ohio, home were covered with these charts, and it was here that she planned her flight. “I really had no intentions of being first at anything when this all began,” Mock said recently. “I just wanted to see the world. But when I found out from the National Aeronautic Association [NAA] that a woman had never soloed around the world, it sounded like a fun thing to try.” It is important to note that Mock did nearly every bit of planning for the flight herself. Russ Mock was an advertising man and helped by arranging financing from an agreement with The Columbus Dispatch newspaper and nearly 20 aviation equipment manufacturers. But it was Jerrie who planned and executed the complicated preparations for the around-the-world attempt. “There were women flying here and there back then, but they usually had a man along as copilot,” Mock explained proudly. “If they did fly solo, someone else planned everything. I had none of that! Nobody in Columbus knew a thing about flying over oceans or long-range navigation because nothing like this had been done before. I planned every mile of the flight myself, in my basement.” Mock did receive some valuable advice from a few Air Force men, in particular Col. (later Gen.) O.F. “Dick” Lassiter and Brig. Gen. R.H. “Bob” Strauss. A letter from Mock’s archives dated “17 March, 1964” shows that Strauss sent a request around the world asking others in the military to “extend any courtesies to Mrs. Mock should she land on or near your base.” Throughout both the planning phases and flight itself, Russ’ mother, Sophie, was always at the Mock home, making sure the children were cared for at all times. This grew into a hot topic of discussion for some people in 1964, as society was not yet ready to embrace a “flying housewife” taking on the world with children still at home. Mock would make several trips to the U.S. State Department and numerous embassies in Washington, D.C., along with trips to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to install avionics, and Wichita, to install large ferry tanks in her 180, the Spirit of Columbus, nicknamed “Charlie.” When those aluminum cabin tanks were filled, the Cessna 180 would carry 178 gallons of gasoline. With a tiny corner of the cabin left open for the pilot seat, Charlie was literally a flying gas can. Everything was set for an April 1, 1964, launch when Mock received word that another woman was planning to depart March 15 on a similar mission to be the first woman to fly around the world solo. Joan Merriam Smith would be flying a slightly longer route in a twin Piper Apache, considerably faster than Mock’s single-engine Skywagon. The news sent Mock’s planning into a tailspin. Because of a financial commitment to her many sponsors, Mock accelerated her preparations and rescheduled her launch for mid-March, losing two weeks of critical time to finish fine-tuning Charlie’s modifications. What had been intended to be a pleasure flight around the world and into the history books had become a race, with two determined women going head-to-head in a highly publicized but unofficial contest to be the first to circle the globe solo. Smith departed Oakland, California, on March 17, followed by Mock departing Columbus two days later. Both flew eastbound, with Mock being pushed by husband Russ to fly through unsafe weather just to stay in the race. She continued to keep an aggressive schedule, but only on her terms. “There was never any question who was PIC on this flight,” Mock said, “and I never let trying to be first around the world get in the way of making the proper weather and flight-planning decisions. I never wanted it to be a race, but once it became one, I decided to try and win it.” Along the 19 legs of her adventure, Mock faced daily challenges that would test any pilot. Severe icing over the Atlantic, Sahara Desert sandstorms, and a vicious front inbound to Columbus were a few of the weather-related hurdles. While landing into strong winds on Bermuda, she handled the stout Skywagon with precision when faulty brakes couldn’t keep Charlie on a crosswind taxiway, sending Mock into a series of 360-degree circles. New brake assemblies were supposed to be mounted on Charlie prior to departure, but in the rush to keep up with Smith’s surprise early launch, Mock’s crew sent her off without mentioning the brake problem, forcing her to fly much of the trip with brakes that had seen better days. It was in the Middle East that Mock finally got to enjoy some of the cultures that had intrigued her since grade school. “I was fascinated by how the Muslim women dressed in different countries,” she said, “and I was treated with respect wherever I went. The nationals at each stop were always friendly. I don’t think that would be the case on a similar flight through the region today.” Some well-timed advice from a U.S. Air Force pilot in Bangkok arranged by Strauss helped Mock tiptoe around the escalating Vietnam conflict. It was over the Pacific that she widened her lead over Smith, who fell farther behind because of mechanical and weather problems. Smith eventually returned to Oakland 25 days after Mock reached Columbus. When Charlie’s wheels touched down back at Port Columbus Airport on the evening of April 17, 1964, Jerrie Mock secured her rightful place as part of aviation’s history. But in the months that followed her flight, the Southeast Asian war intensified, pushing her news quickly off the front pages of America’s newspapers. And after writing her book, Three-Eight Charlie, in 1970, distribution glitches forced the book to have a limited release. Author Dan Pimentel is a private pilot, writer, photographer and owner of an advertising agency that specializes in the aviation market sector. He is also an active blogger, posting often about aviation issues at his blog, World of Flying....

Aviatrix History 4

Aviatrix History 4

The following are a few more photos and bits of information about women aviatrixes from history. Andy Heins continues to send me background information and I am finding the pictures and whatever historical documentation is available fascinating.  The pictures are wonderful but it’s truly the information about each woman that brings them to life. Annette Gipson was born in 1912 in Commerce, Georgia.  At 19 she moved to New York City to seek her fame and fortune. She was taught to fly in 1931 and soon became involved in all things aviation related. -In 1932 she entered the National Air Races in Cleveland, Ohio. -In 1933, Annette created the Annette Gipson All Women Air Race at Floyd Bennett Field with help from I. J. Fox. Many famous women fliers participated in these races from 1933-36, with her friend Amelia Earhart acting as the official race starter. -In 1934, Annette married prominent New York attorney Edward T. Magoffin, 40 years her senior, honeymooning on the luxurious liner Queen Mary. She joined the 99’s as well as the Women’s Aeronautical Association. Soon she established residences in New York and Miami, Florida, building a gorgeous home on 10 acres complete with a special clubhouse for her friends in aviation. -In 1931 she purchased a Waco QCF-2 NC11465 and began touring the southern states giving flying exhibitions, racing and giving rides. In 1934 she was one of 19 women participating in the Women’s National Air Meet in Dayton, Ohio, where she placed second in the 20 mile Free-For-All Handicap Race and forth in the Precision Landing Contest. She passed away in the late 1980s. ————– Florence Klingensmith 1904 – 1333. Florence Gunderson Klingensmith was born on a small farm in Oakport Township near Fargo, North Dakota. Somewhat of a “tomboy”,  she was an active participant in all sorts of sports and was fond of riding her motorcycle at great speeds. She left high school during her junior year and went to work as a motorcycle mechanic and truck delivery person in Fargo, ND. Florence became interested in aviation during 1927 when Charles Lindbergh visited Hector Field in Fargo after his trans-Atlantic flight. -Florence was the first licensed pilot in North Dakota -June 22, 1931, before 50,000 spectator sat Wold-Chamberland Field in Minneapolis, she set the official inside loop record for women at 1,078 loops, taking  four & half hours – She taught a women’s aviation classes, gave radio addresses on flying and on weekends gave five-minute plane rides for a dollar -1933 brought a new year of racing for Florence and a faster airplane. At the Chicago Air Races held in September, she flew a highly modified Gee Bee Sportster. She placed second in the women’s race at an average speed of 189.04 mph The following day, September 4, one day after her 29th birthday, she entered the $10,000 Frank Phillips Trophy Race and was the only woman participating against a field of experienced male fliers. On the 8th lap of the race, after averaging over 200mph per lap and in 4th place, bits of fabric could be seen ripping away from the wing of the airplane. Florence flew off the course towards a field to the south of the airport when the airplane was seen to nosedive into the ground. Apparently, she had attempted to bail out but had become entangled in the airplane and was killed instantly. This ended the brilliant career of Florence Klingensmith and the officials barred women from participating in any closed-course racing from then on. ———— Gladys received her license at age 25 in 1929, becoming the only licensed woman pilot in Long Beach. With only 40 total hours of flying, she entered the 1929 Women’s Transcontinental Air Derby, flying a Waco CTO Taperwing.  The race was from Santa Monica, CA to Cleveland, Ohio. Being the lowest time pilot in the event, she did exceptionally well, placing second behind Louise Thaden flying a Travel Air. In 1931 the Transcontinental Air Derby race was changed and now women could compete with men. Gladys flew hard and fast against overwhelming competition and placed 6th flying her Waco Taperwing. Gladys was becoming very well known amongst pilots. She flew in the 1932 Cord Cup Pacific Wing Race and placed forth. She then won the 1932 Aerol Trophy Race. In 1933, Gladys again flew in the Aerol Trophy Race, placing third. In 1934, she was invited to participate in the first Women’s National Air Race in Dayton, Ohio. She was active in the Republican Party until her death from cancer in1973. ———— Edna Gardner Whyte 1902 – 1992. Edna soloed on December 8, 1930 flying an OX-5-powered Swallow TP biplane and in early 931, she received her Private Pilot’s License. – She continued to fly and soon bought an OXX-6-powered Travelair. Figuring that she could serve a purpose with her airplane, she joined the Betsy Ross Corps, an organization using airplanes to help deliver aid to people for humanitarian reasons. In 1931 she attended the National Air Races hauling parachute jumpers. – She received her Transport Pilot License and entered the1933 Annette Gipson All Women’s Air Race and placed 5th. In 1934 she again entered and this time she placed first among some of the best women flyers in the country, flying a Waco 10. – In 1934, Edna participated in the first Women’s National Air Meet. In the featured event, the 50-mile Free-For-All Handicap Race, Edna was leading the pack flying a Wright-powered Waco Taperwing. Rounding the pylon on the last lap, she dove to the inside to avoid a collision. The wake of her airplane caused Frances Marsalis, also flying a Waco, to lose control and crash, killing her instantly. Even though Edna finished first, she was disqualified after protests from the other competitors. – In 1935 she applies to Central Airlines but is rejected because she is a woman. – In 1938 Edna is featured by “LOOK” magazine as the highest time woman pilot with 2,888 hours. -In 1940 Edna applies to yet another airline, this time Braniff. During the interview she is told that “passengers would not be comfortable with a woman pilot” and therefore they could not hire her. -In 1969 Edna purchases a tract of land in Roanoke, Texas and builds an airfield called Aero Valley. She continues to instruct students and race up into her late 80’s. In February 1992, Edna passed away at age 89, having won over 130 air races and with over 30,000 flight hours to her credit. ———— Katherine Cheung 1904 – 2003. Born in Canton, China, her family immigrated to the United States in 1921 and took up residence in California. -The first Chinese-American woman to receive a pilot’s license. She accomplished most of her training in a Waco INF. -Katherine soon joined the Women’s International Association of Aeronautics and began flying in Air Shows and exhibitions up and down the California coast. -Although Katherine did not attempt any records for women, she did participate in a number of smaller air races. Her main interest was flying to cities with large Chinese populations to encourage flying, especially among women. The Chinese community was so enthralled by Katherine that they pooled their money together and purchased a Fleet Model II powered by a 125 hp Kinner engine so that she could represent them in the Ruth Chatterton Air Sportsman Pilot Trophy Race from Los Angeles to Cleveland, Ohio, where the National Air Races were taking place. -In 1937, Katherine had a vision to return to China and establish a flying school.  Once again, the Chinese community in California backed her and purchased a Ryan STA for $7000 so she could train future pilots in China. However, fate stepped in and changed everything. Shortly after receiving the brand new Ryan, her cousin, the one who introduced her to flying, took the aircraft for a joy ride and crashed, destroying the aircraft and killing himself. During this same time, her father, in ill health and dying, asked her to give up flying. Out of respect for her father, she gave up flying making her last flight in 1942 at the age of 38. Although she remained interested in aviation, she never again flew and passed away on September 2, 2003, at the age of 98....

Aviatrix from History

Aviatrix from History

Thanks, Andy Heins, for these beautiful photos. – Jackie Cochran set more speed and altitude records than any of her contemporaries, male or female. She not only became one of the world’s great aviatrixes but also one of the best pilots of either gender. – – – – – In the 1935 Bendix, Cecil Allen flew the Granville Brothers’ Gee Bee R-1/2 hybrid, NR2101 called the “Spirit of Right” from Burbank airport. Its name was related to a religious group that sponsored him for the race. Allen took off, departing in an early morning fog. The “Spirit of Right” crashed in a potato field about a mile east of the airport. While it might appear that the fog was a factor in his death, it is believed to be the weight and balance of the airplane that was the cause. Against the counsel of the Granville family, Allen installed a larger fuel tank well aft of the center of gravity. Upon takeoff, witnesses reported seeing the elevators in full deflection and the airplane behaving in an unstable manner. He was 31 years old at the time of his death....

Something New – Aviatrix From The Past!

Something New – Aviatrix From The Past!

I was presented with an opportunity recently that’s just too great to pass up and I hope you agree. As you probably know, our fun little group of women taildragger pilots is ALL about having fun flying them… right now… yesterday, today and tomorrow! This is a group that gets out there and does it and doesn’t just sit around talking about it. Granted, things happen for all kinds of reasons – you need to renew your medical, sold your plane, can’t afford a plane, can’t afford fuel, are out of annual, (you see where I’m going with this) but the bottom line is, we’re either out there doing it or we’re trying to get out there! So now that we’ve established we’re about the here and now, there’s a whole group of pilots we have to thank for pioneering this wonderful life we have and who have largely gone unrecognized. Andy Heins, Waco owner, aviation historian and avid collector of aviatrix photographs has collected thousands of photos from the ’20s, ’30s & ’40. Some are of famous women pilots from the past but most are images of women with no known history and whose names are often unknown. Andy has volunteered to periodically send us pictures from his stash along with any available documentation. Here are just a sampling of the fabulous photos Andy will be sending our way! Sometimes you’ll see them on the Home page but you can always find them under the new heading “Aviatrices History” under the header picture. Hope you enjoy them as much as I’m going to! – – – Alice Dupont...