Mujer sosteniendo un avión en miniatura

Women in Aviation: A legacy of empowerment and self-improvement

05 of March of 2024

Throughout history, several women who have defied stereotypes to leave an indelible mark on the world of aviation. In this article we will explore some of the history and curiosities surrounding these women, highlighting their achievements and contributions. Get ready to meet some of the true pioneers of the sky!

The Baroness of the Air

Let’s begin our journey with a pioneering woman, and not just any woman, but the first woman to obtain a pilot’s license. This was Raymonde de Laroche, in 1910. Prior to this achievement, she already had experience as a pilot of aerostats (hot air balloons) and it was a French aviator who encouraged Raymonde to learn to fly an airship in 1909. This came to pass in October of that year. No less than six months later, on March 8, 1910, she received pilot license number 36 issued by the Aero Club of France, endorsed by the International Aeronautical Federation and the first world organization to issue this type of license. This milestone made her the first woman to earn such a license.

Raymonde de Laroche

Her passion for flying drove her to break down barriers and blaze a new trail. And her journey did not end there, achieving two female records during her time as a pilot, including the altitude record at 4,800m. Her audacity has inspired many women who have followed in her footsteps and left their mark on the history of aviation.

Spirit of Colombus

The name of this small aircraft, Spirit of Columbus, has nothing to do with the Spanish navigator Christopher Columbus. Rather, it is the name Geraldine ‘Jerry’ Mock gave her plane, a Cessna 180, in honor of the city of Columbus, Ohio, where her adventure began. But why is Jerry Mock so famous? This American pilot was the first woman to complete a solo round-the-world race. She achieved this feat in 1964, taking 29 days to cover some 36,800 kilometers (about 23,000 miles).

Geraldine Mock’s story has a touch of synchronicity, as both the route and the start date of her flight coincided with the last flight of another aviation pioneer, Amelia Earhart, who became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1932. Unlike Mock, however, Earhart unfortunately disappeared during her attempt to fly around the world in 1937. Mock’s feat was remarkable not only for its technical achievement but for the symbolic connection to Earhart’s story.

Jerry Mock receiving a medal for his feat.

The first lady of aviation

Olivia Ann Beech is not associated with a world record or some other feat, but her contribution is just as impactful. She is known for her work at Beech Aircraft Aviation, a company dedicated to the manufacture of commercial and military aircraft. She founded the company in 1932 with her husband and, at first, was engaged in managing business affairs. Her leadership evolved and she went on to become the company’s president in 1950, the first woman to head a major aircraft company.

Her work over the next 18 years at the helm of the company contributed to her becoming the woman with the most awards and honorary appointments in aviation history. Her legacy is a reminder that women’s impact on aviation goes beyond individual records.

Other iconic achievements

These are just a few of the many possible stories we could tell in a blog such as this one. Women continue to make history in aviation today. We have women like Eileen Collins, who became NASA’s first female space shuttle commander, or Emma Lillian Todd, the world’s first female aircraft designer.

Eileen Collins

In short, women have proven to be true pioneers and overcome numerous challenges to follow their passions and achieve great things. Their courage, determination and talent have opened doors for women around the world who also dream of flying. The sky is no longer the limit!

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