Best of the Web: Women’s history month and aviation

March 8th was International Women’s Day while the month of March is Women’s History Month in Australia, the USA and the UK. Moreover, March 5 to 12 was the Week of Women in Aviation Worldwide (Note: AVweb has a podcast interview with Victoria Neuville about the event and the movement in general). Hence, here is a collection of news or links that might be of interest to female pilots:

China’s Air Force First Six JH-7 Female Fighter Pilots. David Cenciotti has mentioned that the Xinhua News Agency recently had an article along with a few pictures of the first six “loyal and fearless” female pilots flying the Xian JH-7 fighter bomber who have just completed the training required to perform all-weather air-to-ground missions. The six women are truly part of an elite as they were selected from more than 20 million girls who graduated from high school back in September 2005.

Three-generation Team to Compete in the 2012 Air Race Classic Women’s Cross-country Race. Over in the US, the Baldwin Family Flyers consisting of Caroline Baldwin of Silver City (NM), Lydia Baldwin of Fort Collins (CO) and Lydia’s niece, Cara Baldwin of Morgantown (WV) will be flying Caroline’s Piper Cherokee in the Air Race Classic women’s cross-country race starting on June 19 at Lake Havasu City Airport (Arizona) and finishing up on June 22 at Clermont County Airport in Batavia (Ohio). Registration for the Air Race Classic, which is intended to harken back to past transcontinental speed competitions for women pilots, will conclude April 1 and is limited to 55 aircraft.

Mrs. Alaska US All World Beauties Pageant Winner Promotes Aviation. The Let’s Go Flying blog has a post from the reigning Mrs. Alaska US All World Beauties pageant winner, Ariel Talen-Keller, whose platform is called “GirlsFlyToo” which is intended to encourage and educate women to take part in aviation.  Ariel got interested in aviation because she grew up on an airfield as her parents are pilots and her father is one of the few people in the country who restores antique airplanes for a living.  She also attended flight school after college to become a pilot herself. 

Pioneering Pilot Who Flew to Batista’s Cuba Passes Away. On an interesting note, the Winged Victory Women in Aviation Webzine has reprinted an article from the Chicago Sun-Times about the passing of Virginia Rabung at 94. Virginia learned to fly during World War II and flew solo in the 1955 All Women’s International Trans-Ocean Air Race from Washington, DC to Batista’s Cuba. The following year, she repeated the feat in another race from Canada. She later flew an aerial safari in South Africa and performed search-and-rescue missions as a major in the Illinois Civil Air Patrol.

Ann Gleszer: Pioneer Pilot, And A Military “Secret.” In addition, the Winged Victory Women in Aviation Webzine has reprinted an article from the Hartford Courant about Ann Gleszer who passed away at 95. Anne was a Women’s Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) during the war and later became a test pilot for the K-190 and K-125 helicopter. She was also featured in a 1948 Life Magazine article that purported to show how easy the planes were to fly.

Betty Skelton, The First Lady Of Aviation. Investors Business Daily had an article about Betty Skelton, the namesake behind the Betty Skelton First Lady of Aerobatics award which goes to the top female pilot each year at the US National Aerobatic Championship. Back in September, we noted Betty’s passing and how she was a three-time national aerobatics champion who became known as the “fastest woman on Earth” after setting various speed records in both airplanes and automobiles. Betty had made her first solo flight at age 12 – illegally.

Amelia Earhart on First Day Covers. Finally, the Winged Victory Women in Aviation Webzine has mentioned that Amelia Earhart was the first pilot of either sex to appear on a US stamp. Specifically, she was honored on the 8 cent airmail stamp back in 1963.


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