While looking through one of my Grandma’s Scrapbooks tonight I ran across an interesting clipping.
She is dressed warmly in bloomers and other warm garments. Before closed cockpits, flying was a bit chilly.
She was not the first woman to pilot a plane or to solo in a plane. The first pilot was a French woman in 1908 and the first woman pilot to solo was Blanche Scott who is mentioned in the article.
There were also several women in Europe who received pilots licenses before Quimby.
John B. Moisant was the first pilot to fly across the English Channel with passengers in 1910 and had a flight school in New York.
One thing to remember is that these events took place less than 10 years after the Wright Brother’s first powered flight in 1903.
Harriet Quimby’s greatest achievement was that she was the first woman to fly solo across the English Channel. If you read the article above you will see that she was only supposed to have taken a short test flight. Instead she followed her secret plan and became the first woman to fly across the channel.
Unfortunately the flying career of Miss Quimby was cut short by an accident at a Boston Flying Meet on July 1, 1912.
Harriet Quimby was actually a bit mysterious and led people to believe that she was the daughter of a wealthy orange plantation owner in California. The article here was written when this was the common belief as it has her age as 27 when she received her license. Actually Harriet was born 9 years earlier in Coldwater, Michigan and was 36 years old when she received the license.
After reading more about her life, I wonder what other challenges Harriet would have attempted if she had not died at the age of 37. She was a photographer, journalist and theater reviewer before becoming a pilot. I am sure that she would have accomplished much more in her life.
Thank you Grandma for another tidbit of history that you saved in your scrapbooks.