Inducted in 1988
First Women To Win Bendix Trophy, 1936
1900 – 1981
1905 – 1979
In 1936, Louise Thaden and Blanche Noyes won the Bendix Transcontinental Speed Race at the National Air Races in Los Angeles and became the first women recipients of the coveted Bendix Trophy. Combining talent and experience, they flew from New York to Los Angeles in 14 hours and 55 minutes in a Beechcraft model C-17R “Staggerwing,” now considered a classic aircraft design.
Louise Thaden had already achieved fame by age 23. She held women’s records in endurance, speed, and altitude categories. She had also won the Women’s Air Derby of 1929, the first all-women cross-country air race.
Blanche Noyes, wife of United States Airmail pilot Dewey Noyes, gave up an acting career to learn to fly. She took flight instructions from Noyes and soloed with less than four hours of dual instruction. She became Ohio’s first licensed woman pilot.
Thaden and Noyes gained flight experience working for the United States Bureau of Air Commerce establishing air route landmarks and providing related services essential to the development of U. S. commercial aviation. They also flew as sales representatives demonstrating aircraft built by many airplane manufacturers. By 1936 they were expert pilots, but still caused astonishment with their Bendix win because it was in a biplane, whereas racers or twin-engine planes especially built for transcontinental flights were the favored machines.