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Harriet Quimby was the first American lady to become a licensed pilot; She was flying 25 years before Amelia Earhart

Goran Blazeski

Harriet Quimby was born on May 11, 1875, in Arcadia Township, Michigan.

In the early 1900s. she and her family moved to San Francisco, California, where she became a journalist.

She attended the Belmont Park International Aviation Tournament in Elmont, New York, in 1910 and that’s when she became interested in aviation.

There, she met daredevil pilot John Moisant and asked him to teach her to fly. “Flying looks easy,” she said to Moisant. “I believe I could do it myself and I will.”

Although Amelia Earhart had long been considered the pioneer in women’s aviation, Harriet Quimby was flying 25 years before Amelia Earhart.

She was the first American lady to become a licensed pilot and the first woman to fly across the English Channel.

Crowd watching seven planes in air at Belmont Park air show, New York, year 1910.

Crowd watching seven planes in air at Belmont Park air show, New York, 1910.

Even when she was young, she was a very confident girl and didn’t want to depend on a man.

While in San Francisco she worked as a journalist, writing articles for the San Francisco Bulletin in the 1890s.

When she moved to New York she worked as a drama critic for Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly, a top magazine of the day.

She often engaged in activities usually reserved for men and she was able to drive and fix her own automobile.

Harriet was also the first woman who wrote film scripts that were made into movies.

Since she was interested in aviation, she decided to start taking flying lessons but finance was a problem for her.

Harriet Quimby in 1911

Harriet Quimby in 1911

Harriet managed to convince Leslie’s to finance her flying lessons in return for writing articles about her flying experiences.

At first, she wanted to obtain her lessons at the Wright brother’s flying school in Dayton, but since the school didn’t accept woman students she turned to Moisant’s Aviation School on Long Island, which accepted her in 1911.

She flew her first flight test on July 31, 1911, and she did very well except for the fact that she overshot the landing.

She didn’t give up, and the next day when she tried again she set an accuracy record for her landing.

The Wright Flyer: the first sustained flight with a powered, controlled aircraft.

The Wright Flyer: the first sustained flight with a powered, controlled aircraft.

She joined an exhibition group and won headlines by making a moonlight flight over Staten Island, New York, to the amazement of a crowd of 20,000, a feat for which she received $1,500.

Harriet also beat the leading French aviatrix, Helene Dutrieu, in a cross-country race, winning $600.

She was the first woman to flew over Mexico City and she also decided that she wanted to be the first woman to fly solo across the English Channel.

Three months after the English Channel flight on July 1, 1912, Harriet made her last flight at the Harvard-Boston Aviation Meet.

She was flying in the Bleriot with William Willard when suddenly the plane went into a nosedive.

They were both thrown from their seats and killed instantly.

Read another interesting story from us:The remains of Amelia Earhart may have been found on an island

The first woman to receive a pilot’s license and the first woman to fly solo over the English channel died at the age of 37.

Here is an interesting video about Amelia

Goran Blazeski

Goran Blazeski is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News