Women in Aviation

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff
  • In 1953 Jacqueline Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier. She was the founder of the WASPs (Women's Airforce Service Pilots), a female military organization established during World War II. She still holds more world aviation records than any other pilot, male or female.
  • Bessie Coleman was the first African American aviator. She earned an international pilot's license in 1922. Nicknamed “Brave Bessie,” she was dedicated to opening a flying school for young blacks when she died in a crash at age 33.
  • Beryl Markham was born in England in 1902 and moved to Kenya in 1904. In 1936, after a career as a professional bush pilot in Africa, she realized her lifelong dream: She became the first person to fly solo west across the Atlantic Ocean. She flew from England to Nova Scotia in 21 hours and 25 minutes.
  • Anne Morrow Lindbergh was the copilot and radio operator for her husband Charles Lindbergh when, in the 1930s, they flew their extraordinary and famous trip of 40,000 miles over five continents.
  • Harriet Quimby was first woman to fly across the English Channel. She was also a famous exhibition pilot and is responsible for coining the word “airline.”
  • In 1910 American Blanche Stuart Scott became the first woman to fly solo. She went on to be a stunt pilot and test flier until she was 27, when she retired and became a news commentator!
  • Born in the U.S. in 1891, Katherine Stinson was a stunt flier and the first woman to “loop the loop.” She was also the first woman to transport the U.S. mail by airplane.
  • Amelia Earhart was the first woman to cross the Atlantic by airplane (1928) and was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic as well (1932). She was the first person to fly alone from Honolulu to California (1935). In 1937 she attempted with a copilot, Frederick J. Noonan, to fly around the world, but her plane was lost on the flight between New Guinea and Howland Island; her fate remains a mystery.
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