Who was Harriet Quimby? She was the first woman pilot in the United States. In the first decade of heavier than air flight, a number of daredevils appeared to take over the controls of the the new airplanes. Besides the Wright Brothers there were men like Cal Rodgers (who first flew across the entire United States - sort of: his plane kept crashing every couple of hours, but he got to the Pacific), and Arch Hoxley (the first man to fly with a U.S. President - ex-President Theodore Roosevelt flew with him in 1910), and Eugene Ely, the first man to take off in an airplane from the battleship Pennsylvania in 1911 (after the deck was reconstructed for the airplane to do so - in a model for future aircraft carriers). But Quimby got her licensed and did a remarkable thing in 1912. Three years earlier Louis Bleriot had become the first man to fly the English Channel. Now Quimby did the same thing, thus becoming the first woman to fly the English Channel. It gained some attention but not much - she did it on April 18, 1912. The news of the day at the time was the sinking of the Titanic three days earlier.
Quimby's day in the sun was all too brief. Later in 1912 she died in a plane crash in Boston harbor. But she left her mark. After Quimby showed women could fly as well as men, it was only a matter of time before Amerlia Earhart and others up to the present day did the same thing.
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