Celebrating Women in Aviation History
Earlier this year, we wrote about the history of aviation. Today, we're going to take that in a slightly different direction and look at some significant women in aviation history.
Women aviators, often called an aviatrix, are plentiful throughout aviation's history. Here are just a few of our favorites:
Raymonde de Laroche
We'll start with a French woman named Raymonde de Laroche. She became the first licensed female pilot in 1910 after just five months of instruction. In 1919, she set two separate altitude records for women pilots, as well as the women's distance record.
That same year, Hlène Dutrieu, a Belgian aviatrix was noted as being the first female to fly a passenger. She was also the first female aviator to fly a seaplane, and the first female pilot to win an air race.
However, Dutrieu wasn't just a pilot. She was also known for being a cycling world champion, automobile racer, and stunt driver. Among other things.
In 1911, Harriet Quimby was awarded a U.S. pilot's certificate from the Areo Club of America. She was the first female pilot to obtain a pilot's license in the United States.
Ruth Law Oliver
A few years later, in 1916, Ruth Law Oliver performed the first -loop the loop- twice to a crowd in Daytona Beach, FL. She also broke a flight distance record that year, flying from Chicago to New York State in a total 590-mile flight.
Oliver broke a record previously set be a male pilot, Victor Carlstrom. His record was 452 miles.
Elizabeth "Bessie" Coleman
In 1921, Elizabeth "Bessie" Coleman became the first female pilot of African American and Native American descent to hold an aviation pilot's license and an international pilot's license. Coleman had to travel to Paris to obtain her pilot's license because, back then, no pilot in America would train an African American woman.
Later, Coleman traveled the world for training towards her dream career in exhibition flying, which she reached in 1922.
Marga von Etzdorf
Marga von Etzdorf is credited with becoming the first female pilot for an airline, landing her first co-piloting job in 1927. She went even further and earned her glider pilot license in 1929, then became the first women to fly over Siberia in 1931.
In 1932, Earhart was the first aviatrix to fly across the Atlantic Ocean alone and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Then, in 1937, she attempted her notorious World Flight. However, she was never seen again after leaving for the final 7,000 miles of her flight.
Recently, the theory that Amelia died as a castaway on an uninhabited island has been getting a lot of media coverage. Yet, no one truly knows exactly what happened to her and her navigator, Fred Noonan.
While these are great women in aviation's history, this certainly doesn't cover all the women who have contributed to aviation history. There are many books available, for both children and adults, on women pilots. Celebrate Aviation History Month with us by reading more about some of your favorites.
Who are some of your favorite aviatrixes? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below!