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WCW: Blanche Stuart Scott

We always admire a woman with a sense of adventure. Blanche Stuart Scott changed the ideas behind aviation and automobiles as possibly the first woman to fly solo in an airplane in the United States.

From a young age, automobiles entranced Scott. Inspired by Alice Huyler Ramsey, Scott and reporter, Gertrude Phillips, became the second women to drive across the United States. From New York to San Francisco, Blanche showed the U.S. that women could do anything men could, even drive a car and make the repairs.

Blanche Stuart Scott in her biplane Blanche Stuart Scott in her biplane

After her cross-country feat, Scott received the attention of Glenn Curtis, who agreed to give her flying lessons. Starting off focusing on taxiing the biplane around, Curtis taught Scott the basics of the plane before she could take to the sky.

On September 6, Scott’s plane lifted off the ground to about 40 feet, before she gently landed. Though the flight was short, and possibly caused by a gust of wind or the limiter moving, she took to the air like a bird.

On October 24, 1910, she made her debut as a member of the Curtiss exhibition team. Known as the “Tomboy of the Air”, she was the first woman to fly as a public event in America. Never afraid of a challenge, she became an accomplished stunt pilot, exceeding in “death dives” that would leave the crowds roaring.

Contracted to fly for Glenn Martin in 1912, Blanche became the first female test pilot. By 1916, she retired by flying because she was bothered by the public interest in air crashes. Scott was also against the aviation industries views that women could not become mechanics or engineers, even after she and other had proved women could be car mechanics.

Blanche Scott Blanche Scott autograph

Never losing her love of aviation, in 1948, Chuck Yeager piloted a TF-80C with Scott as the first woman to fly in a jet. Familiar with her past as a stunt pilot, her treated her to some snap rolls and dives. Rekindling her love of flight, she began working to help acquire early aviation materials for the United States Air Force Museum.

An inspiration to women across the U.S., Scott will always be remember for her ground breaking work in the world of aviation for women.