6 Famous Women Pilots in Aviation History

Being an aviator is an incredibly impressive achievement for anyone to reach. In the years since the first flight, there have been countless pilots of major skill and numerous moments where the very spirit of flight was made proud by an aviator. Among these pilots, and the moments that made them, there are an abundance of women aviators who have went above and beyond to prove their masterful abilities in the air.

We will be taking a look into the lives of these extraordinary women of flight. Below are the six most famous women pilots in aviation history:

1. Bessie Coleman

Born in 1892, Bessie Coleman was there for the very first days of aviation. As a child growing up in Texas, Coleman grew to become interested in flight over time. Unfortunately for the time, women had no flight training opportunities in the United States. Naturally, this went doubly for African Americans and Native Americans, both of which she was a descendant of.

This ended with her saving up enough money to travel to France, where she became a licensed pilot. Following her aviation education, she returned to the States to become a successful air show pilot. Coleman had ambitions to start her very own school for potential African American pilots. Unfortunately, that dream was cut short after her death in a plane crash in 1926, however she is still a very influential and inspiring figure for pilots today.

 

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2. Harriet Quimby

Another fantastic pilot who was there for the early days of flight, Harriet Quimby was a majorly influential figure in the rise of women in aviation. In 1911, Quimby was awarded a U.S. Pilot’s certificate by the Aero Club of America. Of course, this made her the first woman to earn a pilot’s license in America, paving the way for many more female aviators in the future.

To add to this, Quimby was also a movie screenwriter, and went on to become the first woman to fly across the English Channel. She was one of the most famous women pilots in aviation history.

 

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3. Jacqueline Cochran

Jacqueline “Jackie” Cochran was a pioneer of aviation who made some great strides for the field in her time. She was known for a few things, but each of them was actually pretty important to aviation. For instance, she was the first woman to break the sound barrier in May of 1953.

Cochran was also known as one of the best racing pilots of her generation. Her experience in the air also led her to making huge contributions to the creation of the wartime Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps, or the WAAC, and the Women Airforce Service Pilots, better known as WASP.

 

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4. Wendy B. Lawrence

Some pilots take their flights a bit higher than others. In the case of Wendy B. Lawrence, she took one of her flights straight to the vacuum of space. Now a retired United States Navy captain, an engineer, a former helicopter pilot, as well as a former NASA astronaut, Lawrence was the very first female graduate of the United States Naval Academy to fly into space.

This also allowed her to visit the Russian Space Station Mir. After all of these accomplishments for the field of aviation, Lawrence remains active to this day as she currently resides in Jacksonville, Florida.

 

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5. Raymonde de Laroche

For this entry, we will be visiting one of the most famous women pilots in aviation history. Born in 1882 France, Raymonde Deroche was a girl of many talents, as she enjoyed playing sports, learning about motorcycles and automobiles, and even acting. In fact, this passion for acting led to her stage name of “Raymonde de Laroche.”

However, the most notable thing she ever did came in 1909 when de Laroche convinced an aviator friend to teach her to fly. Slowly but surely, de Laroche learned to grace the air, culminating in what may well have been the first flight by a woman in history. While whether or not she holds the title of first female pilot is disputed, one thing that is fact is that she did go on to become the very first woman to ever obtain a pilot’s license.

 

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6. Marie Marvingt

If being “too talented” was a real possibility, Marie Marvingt would have certainly been in danger of it. Marvingt was a French athlete, a mountaineer, a journalist, and, of course, a notable aviator. Recipient of numerous awards for her efforts in swimming, mountain climbing, ballooning, riding, gymnastics, and many more fantastic talents, Marie Marvingt was clearly a person who could pretty much do it all.

Her accomplishments in aviation were also impressive. During World War I, Marvingt became the first woman to ever fly in combat missions as a bomber. However, she also used her flying abilities for more merciful means, as she went on to work for the establishment of air ambulance services throughout the world.

 

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