7 Brilliant Female Aviators Besides Amelia Earhart

Published February 2, 2015
Updated January 9, 2015
Female Aviators Earhart

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Before “Coffee, Tea or Me” there was Amelia Earhart, the headstrong, accomplished pilot who disappeared during a flight around the world in 1937. But Earhart was one of many women who punched society’s expectations in the chops and learned to fly. Some of these women would make the ultimate sacrifice for their passions just as she did, but they’d also inspire countless other flying aces and pave the way for inclusive aviation innovation.

Harriet Quimby

Female Aviators Quimby

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Humble beginnings wouldn’t stop Harriet Quimby from soaring above. Born in 1875 on a small farm in Arcadia, Michigan, Quimby was the first woman to earn a pilot’s license in the United States.

Female Aviators Quimby Moisant

Quimby, right, poses with fellow aviatrix, Matilde Moisant.
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She was also the first woman to fly across the English Channel, but bad timing would steal her thunder: the Titanic sank during her crossing and dominated the headlines.

Female Aviators Quimby Plane

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Quimby died while flying in the Third Annual Boston Aviation Meet in 1912 when, for unknown reasons, her monoplane pitched forward and she was ejected from the aircraft, along with her passenger, William Williard. In 2012, she was inducted into the Long Island Air and Space Hall of Fame.

Raymonde de LaRoche

Female Aviators Laroche

Source: Wikimedia

The first aviatrix in the world, Raymonde de LaRoche would set two women’s altitude records, one distance record and earn the nickname Baroness, inspired by the Red Baron. She went on to win the Femina Cup for a nonstop four-hour flight.

LaRoche was originally an actress and singer, but was praised for her bravery and audacity instead of her beauty.

Her boldness was proven when she survived two plane crashes, as well as a tragic car wreck in 1912 that killed aviation pioneer Charles Voisin. LaRoche’s luck ran out in 1919 while co-piloting an experimental airplane. The plane took a dive while landing, and LaRoche was killed.

Susan Sims
When she's not fighting crime or cleaning the garbage disposal, you can find Susan writing about travel, science and things that go bump in the night.
Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.
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Sims, Susan. "7 Brilliant Female Aviators Besides Amelia Earhart." AllThatsInteresting.com, February 2, 2015, https://allthatsinteresting.com/female-aviators. Accessed May 25, 2024.