Bessica Raiche the first woman to solo in the USA
Bessica Faith Raiche née Medlar (April 1875 - 11 April 1932), a dentist by profession, was the first woman in the United States accredited with flying solo in an airplane.
Her accomplishment was all the more impressive because she had received no flight instruction or experience prior to her flight and her aircraft was a Wright Flyer type biplane that she and her husband had built in their living room and then assembled it in their yard.
Instead of a heavy canvas covering used by the Wright brothers' the Raiche's flyer was covered with much lighter silk.
On 16 September 1910 the Raiche's flyer with Bessica at the controls left the ground at Hempstead Plains, New York and Bessica Raiche made the first solo airplane flight by a woman and accredited by the Aeronautical Society of America in the United States.
Photo © wikimedia.org
On 13 October 1910, Bessica Raiche was awarded a diamond-studded gold medal inscribed "First Woman Aviator in America" by Hudson Maxim of the Aeronautical Society of America at a dinner the society held in her honour.
Bessica and her husband François Raiche went on to build two more airplanes. They are generally recognised as innovators in the use of lighter weight materials in aircraft construction, including the use of piano wire to replace heavier iron wire.
On April 11, 1932, Raiche died in her sleep in Balboa Island, Newport Beach, California of a heart attack.
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