The Evolution Of Women In Aviation
Women have always had a rough go of breaking the glass ceiling, and aviation is no different than any other industry — if not a perfect example. We believe in women feeling empowered to do everything a man can do. Equality, bravery and strength in all things. It took many women who share these qualities to pave the path for others in aviation to follow and build upon in today’s world.
Below is a comprehensive timeline of the women who got today’s fierce girls started.
- Though it was the Wright brothers to take the first machine-powered flight they didn’t ignore their sister’s contribution to the effort. Katherine Wright knew everything about the working of the machines and flew with her brothers in 1909.
- Starting 1906, another inventor of aircraft, Emma Lillian Todd began designing her own airplanes. Her first plane flew in 1910 but was piloted but a young Frenchman.
- The world saw it’s first licensed female pilot, Raymonde de Laroche in 1910. Again the French make strides in Aviation.
- On October 13, 1910, Bessica Raiche received a gold medal from the Aeronautical Society of New York, recognizing her as the first American woman to make a solo flight.
- Harriet Quimby became the USA’s first licensed female pilot on August 1, 1911 and the first woman to cross the English Channel by airplane the following year.
- In 1913 the first female parachutist, Georgia Broadwick, made a jump demonstration for the US Government at the young age of 20. When she retired she had completed over 1,000 jumps.
- In 1921 the first African American woman to get a license came onto the scene, making female aviation history. Get it, Bessie Coleman! The following year Japan saw their first female pilot as well.
- In 1929 the first Women’s Air Derby took place in California.
- FUN FACT: Did you know it was a woman who first proposed the idea of using a plane for life flight? Yes. We’re brilliant.
- Canadian Elsie MacGill became the first woman to earn a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering in 1929.
- In 1930 Ellen Church proposes that women should be hostesses on airplanes. She chose the first seven flight attendants who at the time needed to be 115lbs or less, unmarried, and nurses.
- In 1932 the great Amelia Earhart came on the scene, becoming one of the most revered women in aviation history. The first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic she also lead the public to encourage and enable young women to become airplane pilots themselves.
- In 1936 Hanna Reitsch became the first person to ever operate a fully functional helicopter and went on to be the first to obtain a helicopter license.
- In 1948 Ada Rogato Brazil’s first licensed female pilot, became the first woman agricultural pilot as well.
- FUN FACT: In the 1950’s many female aviation organizations were founded and re-activated such as the WASPs, Australia Women’s Pilot Association and Whirley Girls.
- FUN FACT: the 1960’s is when being a stewardess started to become considered a luxurious and adventurous lifestyle.
- In 1960 the Women In Space program was funded and women pilots were recruited to test things out for NASA. However women still couldn’t attain the proper degree to meet any requirements for space travel.
- In 1963, Valentina Tereshkova, an amateur Russian parachute jumper became the first woman in space. In this year Betty Miller also became the first woman to fly solo across the pacific ocean.
- In 1976 Asli Hassan Abade soloed her first flight as the only female pilot in the Somali Air Force.
- In 1980, Lynn Rippelmeyer became the first woman to fly a Boeing 747 and a short 4 years later became the first woman to serve as captain on the craft.
- The Navy saw it’s first woman flight officer in 1981, Mary Crawford.
- In 1991 The United States Senate decided to life the ban on women entering flying in combat. #GirlsCanFightToo
- In 1998, M’Lis Ward, the first African American woman became a pilot for a major US airline. (The airline was United.)