The Women in the Skies: Honoring Women’s History Month
March is recognized as Women’s History Month to celebrate the untold stories and contributions of women. At the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, we want to recognize the accomplishments women have made in the aviation industry. Below are a few dedicated women who beat the odds against them and made history.
Harriet was an American aviation pioneer who gained her U.S. pilot certificate in 1911. This made her the first woman to gain a pilot’s license in the United States. In 1912, she became the first woman to fly across the English Channel.
Amelia was an American aviation pioneer and an author that made monumental strides in the aviation industry. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. In 1932, Amelia made a nonstop solo transatlantic flight and received the United States Distinguish Flying Cross for being the first female to accomplish this milestone.
Bessie Coleman was an American civil aviator. Coleman was the first African American women and first Native American to hold an international pilot’s license. After her trip across the Atlantic, she was accepted into the famous French flight school ran by plane designers Gaston and Rene Caudron.
Mae Jemison is an American engineer, physician and former NASA astronaut. Jemison became the first black woman to travel into space where she served as a mission specialist.
Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP)
The Women Airforce Service Pilots, previously known as Women’s Army Service Pilots, were a group of civilian women who wanted to become pilots. Members of the organization were a part of the United States federal service. During their time, members were able to become trained pilots, test aircrafts for the Airforce, and train other pilots.
The Ninety-Nines was formed on November 2, 1929 to serve as an organization for women in aviation. The group functioned as a support system to help with the advancement of aviation and built relationships with women who were interested in the industry. The group was named the Ninety-Nines to represent the 99 charter members.
Katherine Stinson was an aviator pioneer who set world breaking records for aerobatic maneuvers, distance, and endurance. She was the first female pilot employed by the US Postal Service and civilian pilot to fly mail in Canada. Stinson also became the first pilot to ever fly at night and female pilot to fly in Canada, China and Japan.
Willa Brown was an American aviator, teacher and activist. Brown was the first African American woman to earn a pilot’s license and aircraft mechanic’s license in the United States. Alongside her many accomplishments, Brown co-founded the Coffey School of Aeronautics to help train African American pilots. She trained hundreds of pilots and many went on to become members of the Tuskegee Airmen.
We salute the life and legacies of women made in aviation and we support the encouragement and advancement of women in all aviation career fields and interests.