The plane has crossed the line. However, the death of the Chinese doll was terrifying

The year was 1911, and American women could still dream of the right to vote. Although the first decade of the 20th century was over, women were to continue to engage, especially in marriage and caring for the family. The ladies wore uncomfortable corsets, and society was looking down on those who were trying to build a career or make a name for themselves in politics.

And it was at this time and social mood that Harriet Quimby was the first woman in the United States to obtain a pilot’s license. It happened on the first of August 1911, exactly 110 years ago.

The fact that the tiny, porcelain-skinned woman was able to fly the plane was a turning point. In 1911, aviation was still in its infancy and as such was considered a high-risk activity suitable only for the bravest men. But 36-year-old Harriet showed everyone that women can do the same. Although she tragically died just eleven months after obtaining a pilot’s license, she also claimed two more championships. “She became the first woman to handle a night flight, as well as the first woman to cross the English Channel,” NPR said.

Although Harriet is best known for her performances in the clouds, her whole life has been a struggle with conventions and she would have released a Hollywood film. He would talk about a girl from a poor family who developed only because of her abilities and courage, about a never-married woman and an adventurer who pushed the boundaries of what was possible. And it would end in a really scary death.

Follow your dreams

The pioneer of American aviation was born in 1875 somewhere in the US state of Michigan. However, the exact place of her birth is not known because her birth certificate does not exist. Her parents apparently owned a small farm. “But as a small farmer, Father Harriet didn’t do very well, so the whole family moved to California,” the PBS website said.

If the family stayed in Michigan, Harriet might have grown into an ordinary farmer. However, the environment of California strongly influenced the adolescent girl. “The life of the California society has been more relaxed. Young women have strayed from traditional patterns, studied at universities, become doctors or shone on boards that signify the world,” said National Aviation, which includes the National Aviation Hall of Fame. where Harriet Quimby was listed post mortem.

The behavior of Californian women absolutely fascinated Harriet – and she realized that she, too, wanted more than a good marriage from life. “Her mother reaffirmed her belief that she could succeed in any field. And Harriet decided to succeed in an area that remained far from most women. Because of this, she went against contemporary conventions and preferred a career to marriage,” US Department of Transportation.

To the skies

One of the few career opportunities for American women was writing in the early 20th century. In 1902, therefore, the capable and talented Harriet began to make a living as a journalist. “Initially, she worked for the Dramatic Review in San Francisco, and later for the San Francisco Call and Chronicle,” says the Britannica encyclopedia.

As a journalist, Harriet was so successful that she eventually became small in San Francisco. She wanted even more from life – to travel and try what no one before her. In 1903, she moved to New York and began working for Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly. At first, she only wrote theater critiques and pages for women, but her superiors soon realized that she had great talent, so in 1905 she was employed full-time as a full-fledged editor. “Quimby’s journalistic career has provided the freedom and financial background necessary to discover foreign cultures and other lifestyles. She also brought adventure to life. So what she always wanted was fulfilled, “states the National Aviation server.

Thanks to her journalistic success, Harriet Quimby penetrated a world that until then belonged more to men. She became one of a handful of truly respected journalists and also learned to drive a car.

The moment that fundamentally changed lives came in 1910, when she accepted an offer to cover the International Air Tournament in Belmont Park, New York. It was at these races that she fell deeply in love with flying and decided to become a pilot. “She was fascinated by both the aircraft and the victorious pilot. She did not hesitate to ask aviation pioneer John Moisant to teach her to fly. He soon died, but Harriet stubbornly pursued her goal and enrolled in flight school, where she was taught by his son. she also befriended Moisant’s daughter Matilde, describes the Federal Aviation Administration’s website.

By the way, Matilde Moisant obtained a pilot’s license shortly after Harriet and became the second American to do so.

Doll behind a stick

Harriet Quimby mastered piloting quickly. “She managed to take the pilot tests necessary to obtain a license after four months of training, more precisely after thirty-three lessons,” the Federal Aviation Administration’s website mentions.

Not only for the media, the 36-year-old pilot soon became a sensation. In addition to the American championship, she also took second place in the world – surpassed only by the French Baroness de la Roche. For her small stature, dark hair, and porcelain-clear skin, Harriet came up with the nickname Chinese Doll. At that time, the pilots collected relatively large sums for flying over any place – so it is no wonder that Harriet hung her journalistic career on a nail and became one of them. “She has joined the Moisant International Aviators exhibition group,” said the Smithsonian’s National Aerospace Museum website.

Harriet reaped success wherever she flew. “At a time when other women were tying their corsets, Harriet Quimby was getting off the plane in a satin suit. She was unmistakable and beautiful when she waved vigorously to the crowds.

I’ll fly it myself

Crowds of fans lay at her feet, but it wasn’t enough for Harriet Quimby again. Trying to bring more women to fly, she continued to write articles for her original employer, Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly, and tirelessly promoted aviation in her lyrics. At the same time, she sought another primacy. And so in March 1912 she went to France to be the first woman to cross the English Channel. Until then, only three men could do that with the plane.

Many doubted that a woman could do that. “Even her advisor, Gustav Hamel, wasn’t sure he could do it. He suggested that he disguise himself and cross the strait. But Harriet refused,” the Smithsonian Museum website said.

It took off from France on April 16, 1912 and soon flew over the strait into a thick fog. “I did not see in front of me, I did not see the water below me. There was only one thing I could do, and keep my eyes on my compass and follow it, “Harriet said later.

However, she managed the situation perfectly – and landed safely on the British side of the strait. But the joy of the flight spoiled her with another thing – although her flight was undoubtedly a great success, the media did not pay much attention to it. It flew over the strait just four days after the destruction of the Titanic.

Falling from the sky

Although the tragedy set off Harriet and much of her fame, her love of flying persisted. But she didn’t have many years left – and the death that awaited her was truly cruel. “On July 1, 1901, less than a quarter of a year after crossing the English Channel and eleven months after obtaining a pilot’s license, Harriet Quimby embarked on her last flight,” the Federal Aviation Administration returns to the past.

That day, she performed with her Blériot XI uniplane at an air meeting in the state of Massachusetts. After flying around the Boston Strait lighthouse, she returned to the airport to pick up William AP Willard, the organizer of the entire event, in a two-seater machine.

At an altitude of about 300 meters above the ground, the plane tilted sharply for unknown reasons. Harriet apparently lost control of the machine, and the sharp tilt was a disaster, because the planes at the time did not have seat belts and the pilots and crew sat in them without any protection.

“Harriet Quimby and her passenger fell out of the plane and crashed into the waters of Boston Harbor in front of frightened spectators,” the Federal Aviation Administration concludes. The legendary pilot was dead on the spot. Her empty plane fell to the ground and sank into the mud.

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