Women in Private Plane History

DuPage Admin | April 17, 2014

First Female Pilot to Fly Around the Globe

On this day in aviation history, April 17, 1964, Jerrie Mock became the first female pilot to fly all the way around the world.  Her flight took 29 days and she flew almost 23,000 miles in her Cessna 280.   This is just one of the many milestones woman have made in the area of private aviation.  To celebrate the contribution that women have made to the overall advancement of business and private charter aviation, here are some of the other accomplishments of female pilots.  See this video of private plane “Spirit of Columbus” and the story of Jerrie Mock.

Picture of Private Plane Spirit of Columbus

Picture taken by Mark Pellegrini in the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center (Smithsonian Air and Space museum extension in Dulles, Virginia)

Female Pilots in History

In 1910, Raymonde de Laroche was the first woman ever to be granted a pilot’s license.  She also set the first records for women in distance and altitude.

In 1911, Harriet Quimby became the first American woman to get her pilot’s license.  She was also the first woman to fly across the English Channel.

In 1921, Bessie Coleman became the first African-American woman to get her pilot’s license.  Although she was American, she had to go to France to learn to fly.

In 1923, Amelia Earhart, likely the most famous female aviation pioneer, received her pilot’s license.  She set records for being the first woman to fly across North America and the first woman to fly non-stop over the Atlantic.

In 1928, Eileen Vollick became the first Canadian woman to get her pilot’s license.

In 1931, Ruth Rowland Nichols sets a new women’s record for altitude when she flies to 28,743.44 feet (8,761 meters) at Jersey City Airport, New Jersey.  She also set new speed and distance records for women that year.  Later in life, at age 57, she again set new speed and altitude records for women when she flew an Air Force jet to 51,000 feet and almost 1,000 mph.

In 1941, Amy Johnson, who was the first woman to fly solo from London to Australia became the first fatality of the British ATA, Air Transport Auxiliary.

The World War II WASPs (Women Air Force Service Pilots), a group of more than 1,000 female pilots, took over important state-side flying missions in order to free-up male pilots for combat.

In 1953, Jacqueline Cochran, one of the leaders in women’s aviation, becomes the first woman to break the sound barrier while flying a Canadair F-86 Sabre.

In 1984, Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to walk in space.