Flying With America’s Most Famous Female Aviators

Dozens of talented women preceded Amelia Earhart, and thousands have followed, and each has her own groundbreaking story to tell

(Library of Congress)

Elinor Smith (1911- 2010)

Elinor Smith
(Bettmann / Corbis)

In 1928, Smith, at age 16, became the youngest pilot to earn a license, which was signed by Orville Wright. She made headlines later that year in a daring feat—flying under New York City’s four East River bridges. With Bobbi Trout as co-pilot, they became the first women aviators to refuel a plane in mid-air in 1929. A group of her peers, including Amelia Earhart, voted her Best Female Pilot in 1930. Smith set numerous speed, altitude, distance, and endurance records in the 1930s, then took a break to raise four children. She resumed flying in the 1950s, piloting military transport planes and jets.

Read more about Elinor Smith at our Around the Mall blog


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