1875 - 1912
First Licensed Woman Pilot In America, 1911, And First Woman To Solo The English Channel, 1912
Inducted in 1999
Harriet Quimby was born on a farm near Coldwater, Michigan. The year the Wright brothers made the first flights, Quimby was a journalist in New York City. While pursuing her journalism career, she was also secretly taking flying lessons. She soon became the subject of her own articles.
In October 1910, Quimby was accepted at the Moisant School of Aviation in Mineola, New York. The Moisant School built monoplanes in the style of the French Bleriot XI and held both ground school and flight training. It was here on August 1, 1911, after passing the flight training requirements, that she became the first licensed woman pilot in America.
After some exhibition flying in Mexico with the Moisant International Aviators Exhibition Team, Quimby returned to New York to begin preparations to be the first woman to fly the English Channel. Her plans were to fly from Dover, England, to Calais, France. On Tuesday, April 16, 1912, she departed Dover at 5:30 a.m., landing 59 minutes later on a beach near Hardelot, France. By a twist of fate, her flight across the English Channel was overshadowed in the news by the sinking of the Titanic. Three months later, on July 1, 1912, she died in a tragic airplane accident at the Third Annual Boston Aviation Meet.