History’s Top 5 Most Inspirational Female Pilots
Women have had a bigger impact on Aviation than they are given credit for, creating pivotal points in the industry that made it the strong field it is today. Often under-cut or placed under shadows women were a part of aviation from the beginning but weren’t often acknowledged for their contributions, here are 5 that made huge contributions and should be acknowledged.
The first, of course, that is the most well-known of women in the industry is Amelia Earhart. Earhart was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean solo. Her journey began in a Lockheed Vega 5B on course for Paris. After this feat, other ambitious accomplishments came to pass; setting altitude records and being the first woman to set sail on her own across the Pacific Ocean.
In 1937 Earhart attempted to make a record journey flying around the world… the journey that sadly gave her the notoriety that not even aviation buffs know. The flight in which she departed for but never returned from. Earhart is fondly remembered for her groundbreaking achievements in aviation for women.
An acclaimed advocate for women flying in the Air Force, Jacqueline Cochran paved the way for women to participate in war efforts in a big way. She personally wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt to allow women to participate, proposing a womens flying division. Her request was granted which resulted in the founding of WASP (Women Air force Service Pilots). She also received a US distinguished service medal for her role after the war.
Bessie Coleman is a big deal for women and African-American women in the world of aviation having been the first African-American female to create a career in aviation. However, though try as she might in the USA to be part of the first world war she was disqualified because of her ethnicity. However, she wasn’t one to give up. She then moved to France where she could complete an advanced course in aviation — making a career out of being an aerial pilot in aerobatic shows.
Unfortunately a fatal accident cut her career short when she was thrown from her aircraft. She will be remembered as the first African American woman to gain an international pilot’s license.
Women are so not given enough credit for their contribution to engineering. Amy Johnson was the first woman in aviation to qualify as an aircraft engineer. She knew the aircraft and it’s instruments inside out… literally! She was also the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia as well as other hallmark flights which added to her claim to fame. During the Second World War, Johnson joined the Air Transport Auxiliary which helped her to remain a prominent figure in male dominated environment.
However, she came to an unfortunate fate when her plane crashed during a flight in bad weather conditions across the sea in 1941.
Harriet Quimby has a lasting legacy despite her death at the age of 37 having been thrown from her aircraft. She had several accomplishments in her lifetime including being the first woman to be granted pilots license by the Aero Club of America, being the first woman to fly across the English Channel in 59 minutes, and many other milestones that set her career in flight.