Wednesday, December 9, 2009

PR: Calendar Celebrates the History of Women in Aviation


Just in time for Christmas is the 2010 Calendar, This Day in Women’s Aviation. You too can accomplish great things in the forthcoming year, while drawing inspiration from 365 role models.

This page-a-day desk calendar, published by Powder Puff Pilot, marks the accomplishments made by women in the world of aviation. Each page highlights an event, milestone, or triumph won in the field.

Entries span three centuries —- from balloonists of the early 1800s to the astronauts and military heroines of today. A wide range of aviation endeavors are recognized—glider pilots, the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) of World War II, airplane designers, flight attendants, parachutists, educators, and the “Mercury 13,” the female-astronaut testing program of the 1960s.

The oldest woman referenced is 99-year-old Hildegarde Ferrara, who, in 1996, tandem-jumped with an instructor to become the oldest person to parachute from a plane. The youngest is 7-year-old Jessica Dubroff, who died in a crash that same year attempting to become the youngest person to fly across the U.S.

Though the entries are America-centric, there are many that applaud the accomplishments of women around the world, such as Russian Marina Solovyeva who, in 1966, set a new women’s airspeed record of 1,270 mph; and Australian Linda Corbould, who planned and commanded a night mission into Baghdad during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The cover of This Day in Women’s Aviation features a photo of Betty Scott, the American adventurer often credited as the first woman in the U.S. to fly solo. Famed airplane designer Glenn Curtiss, founder of the first U.S. airplane manufacturing company in 1907, reluctantly took on Betty as his protégé. As was his usual practice, he inserted a block of wood behind the throttle pedal of his 35-horsepower Curtiss pusher to prevent students from inadvertently taking off while taxiing down the field.

According to some reports, Betty conspired with a mechanic to remove the throttle block and on September 6, 1910, took flight in Hammondsport, New York up to 40 feet high. Those who insist that Betty’s flight was unintentional instead credit Bessica Raiche as America’s first flyer. She was a dentist who, within weeks of Betty’s flight, flew solo with full intention. Regardless of who flew first, women would not be denied their place in the air.

This Day in Women’s Aviation reminds us of the setbacks and discrimination these aviation pioneers endured, and honors those who attained their dreams in spite of the obstacles placed in their way by the societal mores of the time.

The 2010 calendar, which offers all new entries from the inaugural 2009 version, is available for $14.95 at www.PowderPuffPilot.com/products/calendar.

Web retailer and publisher Powder Puff Pilot was founded in November 2008 by Sue Hughes of Aurora, Colorado. Hughes also authors aviation books for children: The Pilot Alphabet, Claire Bear’s First Solo, and, due out in Spring 2010, What Pilots Fly. For more information or to order Powder Puff Pilot products, visit www.PowderPuffPilot.com or call toll free at 888-801-6628.

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