A Brief History of Blanche Stuart Scott

By Willie Bodenstein


Born on 8 April 1884 Blanche Stuart Scott in 1910 became the second woman, after Alice Huyler Ramsey, to drive an automobile across the United States and the first driving westwards from New York City to San Francisco, California. She subsequently became the first woman to fly solo in the airplane in the United States and is recognized as such by the Early Birds of Aviation.

Photo © United States Library of Congress

Scott subsequently became a professional pilot and when on 24 October 1910 she made her debut as a member of the Curtiss exhibition team at an air meet in Fort Wayne, Indiana she became the first woman to fly at a public event in America. Her exhibition flying earned her the nickname "Tomboy of the Air".

In 1911, by then an accomplished stunt pilot, she became the first woman in America to fly long distance when she flew 60 miles non-stop from Mineola, New York. In 1912 Scott contracted to fly for Glenn Martin and became the first female test pilot when she flew Martin prototypes before the final blueprints for the aircraft had been made.

She retired from flying in 1916 because she was bothered by the public's interest in air crashes and an aviation industry which allowed no opportunity for women to become mechanics or engineers.

Lancair flight at Jack Taylor Airfield

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