Opal Kunz- 1894-1967
Opal Kunz was a socialite who became a great pilot. She, like other pioneer pilots, was a strong advocate for the rights of women to enter the field of aviation. She felt that women were equal to male pilots and should be allowed to follow their dreams.
Achievements and Records:
- 1930 Became the first woman to race with men in open competition
- Charter member of the Ninety-Nines
- Participated in the first Women’s Air Derby and came in 8th in the heavy category
- Organized the Betsy Ross Air Corps. This group supported the Army Air Corp. (this became (the Air Force) They served in times of an emergency taught women to fly so that they would have a reserve number of women pilots. This group grew to 100 pilots but was short-lived. It only lasted from 1931 to 1933.
- In 1942 taught students how to fly at Arkansas State College
- Taught Navy cadets for the Civilian Pilot Training Program
- Inspector for Aerojet Corporation
Opal lived a life in aviation. Why wasn’t she known for her achievements? So many women in many different fields never became well-known. What more should I say. These women had one common bond…they wanted to follow their passion. They sure did and they succeeded.