Edna Gardner Whyte

 

   Edna Gardner Whyte was a name I found in my Aunt Victorine Florsheim Lederer memorabilia. My aunt was a pilot in the 30’s and so was Edna. I found the right address and wrote her not expecting to hear from her.

  I want asked if she remembered my aunt. She said she did and that and that she knew she was the only Jewish woman pilot. She said that her memorabilia was stored away and she couldn’t get to it. She wanted to help me more but just couldn’t. She wished me luck and hoped that I would be able to find more information from other pilots.

  •   With her letter, Edna sent a long profile of herself. In this post, I will acquaint you with a very unusual woman.
  •    Edna was born in 1902 but didn’t receive her pilot’s license until 1930. My aunt received her’s in 1931 so they might have known each other.
  • She joined an organization called the Betsy Ross Corps. It was formed to use the airplane in order to help people in emergency situations.
  • In 1933 she received her transport license
  • Entered 1933 the All Women’s Air meet.  This race was named for the pilot Annette Gibson
  • 1934 she participated in the first women’s national air meet
  • 1935 she applied to fly for Central Airlines but was turned down because she was a woman
  • 1938 profiled in “Look” magazine for being earning the most  flying time of a woman pilot…2,888 hours  

    1940 Edna applied for being a pilot for Braniff airlines. Again she was turned down because she was a woman

  When I received her letter in 1987 she was in her late 80’s but flying every day. She owned an airport in Roanoke, Texas. She named it Aero Valley. Edna won more than 80 different aviation awards. Her greatest honor was the Charles Lindbergh Lifetime Achievement Award. Incredibly, Edna won 130 air races and flew 30,000 hours.

  I started my research on women pilots in 1987 and wished I had met this exciting woman. She died in 1992. Edna faced discrimination because she was a woman but continued to aim for the sky. All this information about Edna convinced me that she is a woman you should know.

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Tiny Broderick

         Parachutist Tiny Broaderick  

Tiny Broderick was a unique women who was became the first woman to parachute out of an airplane.she was a extraordinarily brave women and lead to many other stunt pilots of future decades. One of the most famous today is Patty Wagstaff. Maybe she channelled Tiny Broadwick. One of her most famous stunts she performed was Tiny hanging from a trapeze-like swing under an airplane manufacturer Glenn L. Martin. She was below the wing of the plane. She performed this stunt about 2,000 feet’s over Los Angeles. Incredibly, she lifted a lever to make a seat drop from under her. This stunt was so dangerous because her parachute was attached to the plane by a string and opened automatically which allowed Tiny to float safely the the ground.  Next Tiny was the first woman to parachute into a lake…Lake Michigan. The army contacted her to help men to learn to jump from a plane. A stunt didn’t go well and she became the first person to use a type of “ripcord” for free fall to the ground. This stunt became very important for pilots in World War 1 to be able survive after their plane was hit. Ordinarily the soldiers died when their plane was hit.

                             Other Accomplishments:

  •  She demonstrated parachutes to the United States Army.
  • Retirement from jumping in 1922 and had made over 1,100 jumps.
  • Member of Early Birds of Aviation even though she wasn’t a pilot
  • First woman to parachute into water in 1914
  • First to jump out of a hot air balloon
  • Tiny appeared on You Bet Your Life November 10 1955
  • Appeared on To Tell The Truth on March 30, 1964

 

 

           

Flyin’ Jenny

 

                                             Flyin’ Jenny

In 1939 the adventure comic strip Flyin’ Jenny was the first one that featured a girl. Up till Flyin’ Jenny the comics were dominated by strong male pilots. Now there was a strong girl named Jenny Dare. The strip became an instant hit with girls who never thought that they could fly.

 It was illustrated by Russell Keaton, and distributed by Bell Syndication from 19-1946. Jenny Dare was a pretty blonde girl featured at Flyin’ Jenny. She was a test pilot for the fictional Starcraft Aviation Factory. She became involved in murder, intrigue, and of course romance. As the United States entered World War 11 Jenny flew missions for Army Intelligence and was involved in combat missions in Europe.

 Unlike other comic strips Flyin’ Jenny featured paper dolls once a month. This Sunday title was called Jenny’s Style Shop.

 Flyin’ Jenny attracted young girls interest in aviation. This was a man’s world that girls thought they now had a chance to enter.

  There is a interesting history of Flyin’ Jenny.

  •  Flyin jenny (ginny, jinny, or jinnier) was used for amusement rides like the merry-go-round where the riders seemed to fly around in  a circle.
  • A World War I bi-plane became know as a Curtiss JN-4 or “Jenny.”
  • Keaton one of the illustrators of the comic strip became flight instructor.
  • In 1921 Lee De Forestin made a short film called “Flying Jenny Airplane.” It included the sound of the plane.

 This post is a look at the culture of the aviation world in the 30’s and 40’s. I love everything about aviation so I thought I would write about this subject. I hope it is interesting to you.

                           More information on Flyin’ Jenny

  • The Aviation Art of Russell Keaton by Kitchen Sink Press…1995
  • Don Markstein’s Toonopedia

 

 

Ruth Nichols

Ruth Nichols:

1st. airplane radio broadcast

Ruth Nichols was a pilot during the Golden Age of Aviation. She was named the”Flying Debutante” because of her wealthy upbringing. Her family disapproved of her interest in flying but she went ahead to earn a name for herself in aviation.                                                      Accomplishments:

  • Her first flight was in 1919 and through her career she flew more than 140 different planes. Ruth flew gliders, auto-gyros, transports, seaplanes and even biplanes. 
  • She was the first women to earn three simultaneous international records for distance, speed and altitude. 
  •  Flew in the First All Women Air Derby.
  • One of the first women to compete in the Bendix Transcontinental Air Race in 1931. 
  • Helped form the 99’s to support women in the field of Aviation
  • Co-founded the Aviation Country Club. She flew all over the country to publicize this unique place. The clubs were supposed to be in many different states but The Depression caused the demise of these clubs.
  • Developed Relief Wings… a humanitarian organization that used private planes to help with disaster and emergency work
  • Became a Lieutenant colonel in the Civil Air Patrol
  • Founded Sportsman Pilot magazine 
  • Round the world plane tour for UNICEF
  • First woman to land in all 48 contiguous states  

Ruth deserves to be more well known and that is my intention for all the women pilots that I profile. She never received the success of Amelia due to many crashes. She wanted to be the first woman to cross the Atlantic but she never fulfilled that wish. She believed that her failures were due to mechanical problems not her ability to control the plane. I hope that after you read this story you will be able to say There’s More Than Amelia. 

 Read more about Ruth Nichols unique life in her autobiography, Wings for Life: The Story of the First Lady of the Air.” The forward was written by Richard E. Byrd the American aviator and polar explorer. The book was published in in 1957 by J.B. Lippincott and is available on Amazon.

Biography of Pearl Carter Scott

“Never Give Up!” by Paul Lambert is a wonderful biography about a woman who never stopped her journey through life. Pearl Carter Scott became the youngest pilot in America. The book traces the story of her parents, siblings, and her life as pilot. She started to fly at twelve years old because her father  allowed her to follow her passion and later to be a leader of her Chickasaw Nation.

As aviation historian I found this book well written and the authentic pictures of her family enhanced the story. Each page was full of information about a woman I never knew. I became aware of Pearl from the movie “Pear” that was a fine depiction of Pearl as a strong and unique young girl. The movie tells the story of Pearls early years and how she became a pilot. Her story inspired me to keep writing no matter how long and hard it is for me. Read the book and see the movie and you will be inspired too. I only wish I had contacted her before she died in 2005. 

I will continue to write about unknown women pilots because it is important to bring awareness of these women to the general public and out of the shadows. Please read my next post about women aviators and the culture of the aviation community.

I also will “never give up” in my quest to learn more about my                                            PASSION…AVIATION. 

Look at the world of aviation…past, present and future. Read my ABOUT PAGE and my post MORE ABOUT ME then you will find out why I call myself a PLANE NUT.

                          Wishing You Blue Skies and Calm Winds

 

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Pearl Carter Scott

Image result for Pearl Carter Scott

Elijah DeJesus actress portraying Pear Carter Scott in the movie “Pearl”

Pearl Carter Scott deserves to be more well-known. Like the other women aviators that I have written about she is a unique women. My Aunt Vicky was the only Jewish women pilots and Pearl had the distinction of being the youngest licensed pilot.
A movie about Pearl The movie focused on the years 1920 and 1932. I have watched the movie several times and found very informative. It was produced in 2006 by the Chickasaw Nation Media and was well received in the independent film market. It won the following awards:

Best Native American film at the Trail Dance Film Festival in 2010
The Dove Foundation awarded the movie four “Doves”
Family-Approved Seal for all ages

“Pearl” was shown at EAA AirVenture and 3,000 people attended. It was a roaring success. The aviation world at there brought their families and everyone had a enjoyable time. It was also screened at different venues in Oklahoma and in the midwest. Each showing received good reviews in the local newspapers.

These awards were very special because few films were made about heroes of Native-Americans. Other films about them were about warriors and not heart warming stories of brave little girls. So the making of
“Pearl” was very important to the Chickasaw Nation and all Native-Americans.
The movie focuses on Pearl’s early years which are exciting but her life after she stopped flying is a unique ride too. She was a woman of great strength and a asset to her heritage, her state and her country.
In the movie I learned how the it was made and the history of Pearl. She was raised in Marlow, Oklahoma and some residents were featured as extras in the movie. The Chickasaw cast members were: Paden Brown, a high school student from Byng, Oklahoma. She played Arnetta, Pearl’s younger sister, a Chickasaw elder who is also a culture preservationist and Pauline Gee who is the daughter of Chickasaw Nation Deputy Attorney General Debra Gee.
In the DVD you meet the director, producer, writer and the cast of “Pearl.” All of the cast is top notch. Elijah DeJeus is excellent as Pearl in both the twelve year old girl and as a married women. The head writer, Donna Carlton and photographer did a great job to bring out Pearl’s strength. Donna was very impressed with the aviation community.
I was impressed by the story of Pearl Carter Scott. They were warm and welcoming. You also learn more about Pearl’s family, the discrimination that Pearl faced in a caucasian town. One of the scenes shows how difficult it was for her but she stands up for herself.
On March 9, 2014 a painting of Pearl was displayed in Oklahoma, City. Nick Christopher was the well-known artist who captured Pearl’s soul. He depicted her as a young Chickasaw girl in goggles, a leather cap in her hand and a white scarf to protect her from the winds in an open cockpit. Behind her was the 1929 Curtiss Robin plane that she flew when she was a young girl. Famous pilot Wiley Post is shown as her looked at the tail of the plane. Pearl’s family was thrilled to see this lovely painting. This post was going to be a profile of Pearl Carter Scott’s life but I morphed into the movie about Pearl. The movie is the best movie about family values and love that I have ever seen. I know very little about Native Americans but I have also been intrigued about the injustices on this population. I watched documentaries on public television and I went to a reservation near Seattle. The Native-American population are more than poverty, alcoholism. This movie taught me about the love that we all should have for all the citizens of our country that have been maligned for too long.
This is a family movie that parents can watch with their children. It was filmed in a very short time so some say it’s not a well written movie. I disagree. It has a love of family and an long lost story of this incredible women.
The producer of this movie, King Hollis, made it accurate as possible. David Mars, a member of the Barnstormer Tour had a Curtiss Robin which was used in the film. This was the same plane that Pearl flew in her early days. When you watch the movie be sure to look at the “Special Features” on the DVD. You will meet the cast, learn about the music used in the film and learn how the movie was made. Also hear and see the lyrics for the song used in the movie You learned that a Curtiss Robin and a Standard airplane were used in the flying scenes in the movie. The New Standard was the plane that Wiley Post flew in the movie. The planes were flown by members of the American Barnstorming Tour. Chris Price did the flying in the Curtiss Robin.
Buy this movie and book  through Amazon and other outlets. I do not work for Amazon or any other places that sell this movie.
I have talked about “Pearl” the movie, the biography and her portrait. Now, I want to tell you about her incredible achievements and her unusual background.

Pearl was born in 1915 to a white father and a mother who was half Chickasaw. She was raised in Marlow, Oklahoma during an era of discrimination of indian’s.
Pearl was made fun of and criticized for also being a half breed. Her father was a wealthy business man who was blind and relied on Pearl to act as his eyes.
At the age of she learned to drive so Pearl could take him to his business duties.
One day the famed aviator Wiley Post landed in a field and Pearl became enamored with flight. She begged her father to let her go up in Wiley’s plane. He saw the enthusiasm in his daughter’s eyes and agreed to allow her to fly with Whiley. Soon Whiley was teaching her to fly and then he hired another pilot to give her instructions. That’s when her fame started.
She was 12 years old when she became the youngest licensed pilot in America. She drove businessmen to different cities, participated air circuses and performed acrobatic stunts. She barnstormed from city to city and became a sensation. After five years of this unusual life Pearl got married and stopped flying to raise her children.
In the 1970’s Pearl embarked on a new career. She became one of the first person to represent the Chickasaw Nation as a community health representative.
In 1983 Pearl was elected to to the Chickasaw legislature and served three terms.
Pearl was inducted into the Oklahoma Aviation and Space Hall of Fame and the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame in 1995. The Chickasaw Nation was proud of Pearl for these achievements and her charter membership in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the of the American Indian.
Some years ago I went to the Air and Space museum. I looked on the Smithsonian Air and Space womens web site. I wish they had listed Pearl with other women aviation. Then I went on the web site for Smithsonian museum dedicated to the American Indian. I didn’t see an exhibit about Pearl at that museum either. The Chickasaw Media produced the movie “Pearl” and there was mention on their site about the movie. The Oklahoma Aviation Space Hall of Fame does have information about Pearl. I wish I knew about Pearl and when I went to the museum. Unfortunately, Pearl is not mentioned in the Smithsonian magazine’s Most Famous Female Aviators. Nor she is not mentioned in the Women Aviation Hall of Fame.
All her flying experiences are shown at the University of Texas in Dallas. This compilation is called “ History of Aviation on Women. In 1978-79 Pearl is listed in the edition of Personalities of the South, the 1989-90 edition of Outstanding Women of American and the Chickasaw edition of Historical Section of the Memphis Magazine. These are areas where more information about Pearl Carter Scott can be found. There is also a documentary about Pearl titled “On Top of the World.” Paul Lambert stars in this thirty minute film. Mr. Lambert also wrote a book “Never Give Up! The Life of Pearl Carter Scott.”

 

Mary Feik Aviation Engineer

MaryFeik.jpg

   Mary Feik was an aviation wonder that most people don’t know. I want to bring her out of the shadows as I have done with so many women pilots. I learned about Mary when I was at the Historic Flight Museum. Our docent was fabulous. He is the one who mentioned Mary Feik. I had never heard of Mary before so I thought I’d write about her.

 She became an aviation engineer, a mechanic, pilot, and plane restorer. WOW! A women in a man’s world. I call my blog They Fly In A Man’s World. Mary really fits that title. How did she become this accomplished women.

 Mary was born in 1924 before Lindbergh’s historic flight. By the time she was seven she saw a barnstormer fly in the skies of Cleveland, Ohio where she was born. The pilot flew a Jenny, the most common plane of World War 1. After the war pilots and planes were unused so they soon were used by barnstormers. This pilot made his living by flying from town to town and gave flight to local residents. Usually they charged $5.00 for this ride. This was the only way the pilots could earn some money. After this flight Mary couldn’t take her eyes off the sky. She was only seven at this time but Mary knew that she wanted to be a pilot. She found her passion.

Mary Feik’s Acheivements:

  • Age 11 learned welding

  • Took apart a car engine at age 13

  • Teacher of aircraft maintenance

  • More than 6,000 hours of flight

  • Pilot of P-51, P-47, P-63 planes

  • Test engineer 

  • Restoration specialist at the Paul E. Garber Restoration Facility in the National Air and Space Museum

  • Her important restorations: 1910 Wiseman-Cooke plane, WW1 Spad X111 fighter, and a 1930 Northrop “Alpha” mail plane. She also restored Betty Skelton’s “Little Stinker” plane. 

  • Colonel in the Civil Air Patrol

  • Member of the Women in Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame

  • Maintenance teacher for the US Army Air Corps

  • First woman engineer for the USAF Air Technical Service Command

  • First women to receive to receive the FAA Taylor Master Mechanic Award

  • Award of the Katherine Wright Trophy

   Readers will wonder why I mentioned so many organizations. I listed these for aviation experts but also for myself. I looked up every plane, place and honor. Why? I told you that “I want to know everything about everything,” I enjoy learning maybe not about everything. That’s impossible.

   I love aviation but I also love to read about strong women… like me! I have said this before. I hope that you read my “About Page” and my post “More About Me.” Then you will learn about my interests and why I think I am a strong woman. I am not accomplished like Mary Feik and so many others but I hope you still like my stories about women in aviation. 

   On June 10, 2016 Mary Feik died at her home in Annapolis, Maryland. On that day America lost an aviation legend.

 What a lady! I am glad to bring the story of Mary Feik out of the shadows. 

BLUE SKIES AND CALM WINDS TO YOU