Behind every good man, there’s a great woman. So who’s behind every great woman? Women’s History Month (March), International Women’s Day (March 8), and Women of Aviation Worldwide Week (March 7-13) have had us thinking about some pretty impressive ladies. Aviation history is full of women breaking social norms, setting records, and pioneering new ways.
We’ve managed to narrow down our 5 favorite aviatrices to share them with you here.
Most famous for being the first female to fly nonstop solo across the Atlantic. Amelia Earhart was also the first female to fly nonstop solo across the US. And the first pilot ever to fly solo from Hawaii to the US. Her last mission was to be the first woman to fly around the world. But with only a few thousand miles left, Amelia vanished into a stormy night.
Record holder for many altitude, speed, and distance challenges of her time, Jacqueline Cochran, was the first female pilot to take off and land on an aircraft carrier. She was also the first woman to fly a bomber across the Atlantic, and the first pilot ever to fly above 20,000 ft without an oxygen mask. Recruiter and instructor for female combat pilots in WWII, Jacqueline was also the first aviatrix to run a Marilyn Monroe endorsed cosmetics company.
As one of the best airshow pilots in the world, Patty Wagstaff has claimed gold, silver, and bronze medals in numerous Olympic level international Aerobatic Competitions. Additionally, she is the first woman ever to become the US National Aerobatic Champion. But she is also one of few to win such a title three times in a row. Furthermore, Patty is the recipient of numerous awards including the “First Lady of Aerobatics” Betty Skelton Award, “Sword of Excellence” Award, and “Bill Barber Award for Showmanship”. Patty has also been inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame. And was most recently awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Air Force Association.
A three-time Hang Gliding World Champion, Hang Gliding and Paragliding National Champion, and multi world-record holder in Women’s Hang Gliding. Kari is the first woman to qualify for the US National Hang Gliding Team. Kari still competes in Hang Gliding competitions. Additionally, she still leads clinics across the US including the 2014 Hang Gliding Spectacular here on the OBX.
The Outer Banks’ very own fearless female flyer. Jenny Hawk takes to the sky with her company, OBX Airplane, pulling banners, giving air tours, and teaching countless aspiring pilots. Her students include Kitty Hawk Kites founder, John Harris, how to fly. Over the years, Jenny has overcome tremendous adversities. But she continues to do the thing she loves and continues to inspire new pilots as they begin their aviation career.
These five woman are just a few of many, many impressive aviatrices. Who is your favorite female aviator? Share with us below!