The Fantastic Four! Most famous American women pilots honored at NC Aviation Museum

One of my favorite things to see at the NC Aviation Museum in Greensboro was the honor wall dedicated to famous women pilots, aviation pioneers and inspirational heroes for generations to come.

Harriet Quimby
She obtained the license in 1911 and only a year later became the first woman to fly solo over the English Channel.

First woman to fly solo over English Channel

The shooting star and social butterfly

She did it using the 55 horsepower Bleirot monoplane.

Her meteoric life and aviation career ended abruptly.

On July 1, 1912, Harriet made a publicity stunt flight at an aviation exhibition near Quincy, Massachusetts.

As hundreds of spectators watched from below, Harriet and her passenger fell from the craft when it suddenly pitched forward.

Her dramatic accident sparked a fury of continued speculation.

See additional photos and an excellent bio summary “Who was Harriet” by Giacinta Bradley Koontz.

Bessie Coleman
Bessie Coleman was unable to secure flight training in the United States. So she went to France and on June 15, 1921 became the first African American to receive a pilot license from FAI.

First black pilot to get FAI license

The Brave Girl 'Queen Bess'

Her dream was to establish a flying school for African Americans. In 1925, she moved to Houston and succesfully performed exhibitions shows and parachute jumps throughout the South.

In April 1926, Bessie came to Jacksonville to pick up her first plane.

During a maintenance flight test, the plane malfunctioned and the mechanic, who was piloting the plane from the front seat, lost control of the plane.

Bessie fell from the open cockpit several hundred feet to her death.

Three years later, her dream of a flying school for African Americans became a reality when William J. Powell established the Bessie Coleman Aero Club in Los Angeles.

Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart most likely is the most glamorous and well known female pilot,

First woman ever to fly over Atlantic

Amelia Earhart 'Lady Icarus'

the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. She did it in 1928, in a Fokker F-7 aircraft called Friendship.

In 1937, Amelia Earhart disappeared during her attempt to fly around the world. She and her navigator, Fred Nooman, left Papua Guinea on July 2nd 1937.

They sent a radio transmission nearby Howland Island in South Pacific and then they were never heard from again.

To date no readily identifiable plane wreckage has been found although the search continues…

Here is a long list of her aviation achievements.

Jacqueline Cochran
Jacqueline Cochran, “The Speed Queen”, is by far the most accomplished female pilot in the US aviation history.

First woman to break the sound barrier

The Speed Queen broke most aviation records at the time

In 1937, she was the only woman to compete in the Bendix race and by 1938, was considered the best female pilot in the United States.

She was the first woman to break the sound barrier, to fly a jet across the ocean and a bomber across the Atlantic, and to land and take off from an aircraft carrier.

She was the first pilot to fly above 20,000 feet with an oxygen mask and the first to make blind (instrument) landing.

Jacqueline Cochran was the only woman to ever be President of the Federation Aeronautique International (1958-1961). She was an important contributor to the formation of the wartime Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) and Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP).

Admission to the NC Aviation Museum is $8 adults, $5 students and free for kids 5 and under.


One Response

  1. this was very interesting , I never knew about this stuff until now.

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