Thursday, August 19, 2004

Amelia Earhart was more PR than pilot

There. I said it. I absolutely give credit for what it took for *any* woman to choose a technical pursuit in the first 1/2 century of flight, and she handled the crowds, pomp, and circumstance in such a way as to be a superior ambassador for women in flight, in general. But her planning for that last flight was poor and she was pushed into the trip when her instincts told her not to go. The fact that she is often the first woman pilot mentioned in an historical discussion is an error and a disservice to those who should top the list, such as:

Jacqueline Cochran

Jerrie Cobb

Pancho Barnes

Janet Harmon Bragg

The Night Witches

Valentina Tereshkova

Everyone knows Yeager, Armstrong, Glenn, Gagarin, Yang, Lindbergh, etc. Few know these ladies, who themselves are the smallest fraction of the legions of women pilots, engineers, navigators and mechanics who have been with aviation from the beginning. Just should be less Amelia and more 99s.


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