Amazing Female Aviators in the Early 20th Century ~ Katherine Stinson

Katherine Stinson caught my eye as a remarkable woman, not only because of her aviation achievements but also because she lived to a ‘ripe old age’ of 106 years, unusual even today but certainly ‘against the odds’ for aviators in the early 20th Century, either male or female. I was tempted to put her story on my other blog, ‘‘ where I am collecting true stories. (If you’d like to tell yours then please email me on

I am also sharing many tales of my dear friend Norman Campbell who died at the age of 103 years, still learning and determined to get the best of life. Norman would have liked to hear about these ladies since he greatly admired Amy Johnson and Amelia Earhart, to whom he felt a kindred spirit in their quest for adventure back in the 1930’s.

Here is Katherine’s story:

Katherine Stinson 1891 – 1997 ‘The Flying Schoolgirl’

Background and inspiration to fly ~ Katherine Stinson originally took up flying to save up to travel to Europe to study music, but she was a naturally gifted flier and soon became quite famous for her daring feats. She gained her pilots licence in 1912 and a year later participated at exhibition flights.

Aviation achievements ~ It is claimed by some that Katherine was the first woman to perform a loop and to fly solo at night, but she was certainly the first woman to be authorised to carry mail and to do pre flight inspections on her aeroplane.

Notable difference ~ Her other claim to fame was that she invented night skywriting, amazing her audiences worldwide. Not being allowed to participate as a pilot in WW1 Katherine, as many of her counterparts, raised money for the Red Cross through exhibiting her daring feats.

Death ~ Unlike many of her fellow female fliers Katherine defied an early death and lived to an amazing age of 106!

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Filed under Early Flight, Frivolous Flying Facts, Memoirs, Research, WW1

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