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Today In History: April 16th, 1912

In 1911, Harriet Quimby became the first woman in the United States to receive her pilot's license.
In 1911, Harriet Quimby became the first woman in the United States to receive her pilot's license.

Harriet Quimby Becomes the First Woman to Fly Solo Across the English Channel

On April 16, 1912, history took flight as Harriet Quimby, an American aviator, accomplished a remarkable feat: she became the first woman to fly solo across the English Channel. Quimby’s daring journey not only marked a personal triumph but also a significant milestone in aviation history, solidifying her status as a pioneering figure in the male-dominated world of flight.

america's first woman pilot harriet quimby seated in plane on ground
Photo Credit: Bettman via Getty Images

Born in Arcadia Township, Michigan in 1875, Quimby was a trailblazer from the start. In the early 1900s, her family moved to California where she began her career as a journalist, writing for publications throughout the United States before discovering her passion for aviation. In 1911, she earned her pilot’s license, becoming the first licensed female pilot in the United States, and after earning her Federation Aeronautique Internationale, Quimby joined an exhibition flight team, the Moisant Internal Aviators.

She traveled with pilot John Moisant and his team to Mexico, where she became the first woman to fly across Mexico City. The following year would bring the moment where Quimby further made history when she suited up to make the flight from Dover, England, to Calais, France. Quimby made the flight on April 16, 1912, in just under an hour, landing on a beach about 25 miles outside of Calais, solidifying her place as the first woman to pilot an aircraft across this route.

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Quimby’s historic flight across the English Channel captured the world’s attention and shattered gender barriers in aviation. Despite facing skepticism and prejudice due to her gender, she fearlessly took to the skies, paving the way for future generations of women in aviation. Her legacy lives on as a testament to the power of determination, courage, and breaking boundaries in pursuit of one’s dreams.

TVN News Poster

TVN News Poster is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News