Blanche Scott

Last updated
Blanche Stuart Scott
Blanche Stuart Scott.jpg
Blanche Scott in her biplane, circa 1910-1916
Born(1884-04-08)April 8, 1884
DiedJanuary 12, 1970(1970-01-12) (aged 84)
Rochester, New York
Occupation Aviator and scriptwriter
Parent(s)Belle and John Scott

Blanche Stuart Scott (April 8, 1884 – January 12, 1970), also known as Betty Scott, was possibly the first American woman aviator. [1]

Contents

Biography

Early life

Blanche Stuart Scott was born on April 8, 1884, in Rochester, New York, to Belle and John Scott (1838-1903). Her father was a successful businessman who manufactured and sold patent medicine. Scott became an early enthusiast of the automobile. Her father bought a car and she drove it about the city in a time before there were minimum age restrictions on driving. In 1900 the family, still in Rochester, lived at 116 Weld Avenue. Scott's family considered her a tomboy and sent her to a finishing school.

Automobile adventure

Blanche Scott's Lady Overland motor trip stopping in Toledo, approximately 1910 Blanche Scott's Lady Overland motor trip stopping in Toledo - DPLA - 63eed897f5397fb20a55f7e0c4e9dc2f.jpg
Blanche Scott's Lady Overland motor trip stopping in Toledo, approximately 1910

In 1910 Scott 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. The trip was sponsored by the Willys-Overland Company and the car was named the "Lady Overland". Scott and her passenger, a woman reporter called Gertrude Buffington Phillips, left New York on May 16, 1910, and reached San Francisco on July 23, 1910. The New York Times wrote on May 17, 1910:

Miss Scott, with Miss Phillips as only companion, starts on long trip with the object of demonstrating the possibility of a woman driving a motor car across the country and making all the necessary repairs en route. Miss Blanche Stuart Scott yesterday started in an Overland automobile on a transcontinental journey which will end in San Francisco.

Achievements in aviation

Poster for an air show in Oakland, California Blanche Scott poster.jpg
Poster for an air show in Oakland, California

The publicity surrounding the automobile journey brought her to the attention of Jerome Fanciulli and Glenn Curtiss who agreed to provide her with flying lessons in Hammondsport, New York. She was the only woman to receive instruction directly from Curtiss. He fitted a limiter on the throttle of Scott's airplane to prevent it gaining enough speed to become airborne while she practiced taxiing on her own. On September 6 either the limiter moved or a gust of wind lifted the biplane and she flew to an altitude of forty feet before executing a gentle landing. [1] Her flight was short and possibly unintentional but Scott is credited by the Early Birds of Aviation as the first woman to pilot and solo in an airplane in the United States, although Bessica Medlar Raiche's flight on September 16 was accredited as first by the Aeronautical Society of America at the time.

Scott subsequently became a professional pilot. On October 24, 1910, she made her debut as a member of the Curtiss exhibition team at an air meet in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She was the first woman to fly at a public event in America. Her exhibition flying earned her the nickname "Tomboy of the Air". She became an accomplished stunt pilot known for flying upside down and performing "death dives", diving from an altitude of 4000 feet and suddenly pulling up only 200 feet from the ground. In 1911 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. In 1913 she joined the Ward exhibition team. 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.

Scriptwriting and museum work

In the 1930s Scott worked as a scriptwriter for RKO, Universal Studios and Warner Brothers in California. She also wrote, produced and performed on radio shows aired in California and Rochester. On September 6, 1948, Scott became the first American woman to fly in a jet when she was the passenger in a TF-80C piloted by Chuck Yeager. Knowing Scott's history as a stunt pilot, Yeager treated her to some snap rolls and a 14,000 foot dive. In 1954 Scott began working for the United States Air Force Museum, helping to acquire early aviation materials.

Death and afterward

Scott died on Monday, January 12, 1970, at Genesee Hospital in Rochester, New York, at age 84. She was cremated at Mount Hope Cemetery. Her grave is at Rochester's Riverside Cemetery. [2]

On December 30, 1980, the United States Postal Service issued an air mail stamp commemorating Scott's achievements in aviation. In 2005, Scott was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. [3]

Related Research Articles

Glenn Curtiss American aviator and industrialist

Glenn Hammond Curtiss was an American aviation and motorcycling pioneer, and a founder of the U.S. aircraft industry. He began his career as a bicycle racer and builder before moving on to motorcycles. As early as 1904, he began to manufacture engines for airships. In 1908, Curtiss joined the Aerial Experiment Association, a pioneering research group, founded by Alexander Graham Bell at Beinn Bhreagh, Nova Scotia, to build flying machines.

Louise Thaden American aviator

Iris Louise McPhetridge Thaden was an American aviation pioneer, holder of numerous aviation records, and the first woman to win the Bendix trophy, alongside Blanche Noyes. She was inducted into the Arkansas Aviation Historical Society's Hall of Fame in 1980.

This is a list of aviation-related events from 1910:

Eugene Burton Ely American aviation pioneer

Eugene Burton Ely was an aviation pioneer, credited with the first shipboard aircraft take off and landing.

Harriet Quimby American aviator, screenwriter

Harriet Quimby was an early American aviator and a movie screenwriter. In 1911, she was awarded a U.S. pilot's certificate by the Aero Club of America, becoming the first woman to gain a pilot's license in the United States. In 1912, she became the first woman to fly across the English Channel. Although Quimby lived only to the age of 37, she influenced the role of women in aviation.

Bert Acosta American aviator

Bertrand Blanchard Acosta was a record-setting aviator. He and Clarence D. Chamberlin set an endurance record of 51 hours, 11 minutes, and 25 seconds in the air. He later flew in the Spanish Civil War in the Yankee Squadron. He was known as the "bad boy of the air". He received numerous fines and suspensions for flying stunts such as flying under bridges or flying too close to buildings.

Jerrie Mock American aviation pioneer

Geraldine "Jerrie" Fredritz Mock was an American pilot and the first woman to fly solo around the world, which she did in 1964. She flew a single engine Cessna 180 christened the "Spirit of Columbus" and nicknamed "Charlie." The trip began March 19, 1964, in Columbus, Ohio, and ended April 17, 1964, in Columbus, Ohio, and took 29 days, 21 stopovers and almost 22,860 miles (36,790 km). An almost forgotten part of this flight is the "race" that developed between Jerrie Mock and Joan Merriam Smith who had flown from a field near San Francisco CA on March 17, 1964. Joan's departure date and flight path was the same as the aviator Amelia Earhart's last flight and though not in direct competition with each other, media coverage soon began tracking the progress of each pilot fascinated with who would complete the journey first. The story of this race is told in a book written by Taylor Phillips entitled, Racing to Greet the Sun, Jerrie Mock and Joan Merriam Smith Duel to Become the First Woman to Solo Around the World. Jerrie Mock was subsequently awarded the Louis Blériot medal from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale in 1965. In 1970 she published the story of her round-the-world flight in the book Three-Eight Charlie. While that book is now out of print, a 50th anniversary edition was later published including maps, weather charts and photos. Three-Eight Charlie is a reference to the call sign, N1538C, of the Cessna 180 Skywagon Mock used to fly around the world. Before her death, Mock, mother of three children, resided in Quincy, Florida; northwest of the state capital, Tallahassee.

Bessie Raiche American female aviator

Bessica Faith Raiche née Medlar, known as Bessie Raiche, was a businesswoman, dentist, and physician.

Aero Club of America

The Aero Club of America was a social club formed in 1905 by Charles Jasper Glidden and Augustus Post, among others, to promote aviation in America. It was the parent organization of numerous state chapters, the first being the Aero Club of New England. It thrived until 1923, when it transformed into the National Aeronautic Association, which still exists today. It issued the first pilot's licenses in the United States, and successful completion of its licensing process was required by the United States Army for its pilots until 1914. It sponsored numerous air shows and contests. Cortlandt Field Bishop was president in 1910. Starting in 1911, new president Robert J. Collier began presenting the Collier Trophy.

Ruth Law Oliver American aviation pioneer

Ruth Law Oliver was a pioneer American aviator during the 1910s.

Lincoln Beachey American aerobatic pilot

Lincoln Beachey was a pioneer American aviator and barnstormer. He became famous and wealthy from flying exhibitions, staging aerial stunts, helping invent aerobatics, and setting aviation records.

Thomas Scott Baldwin American balloonist

Thomas Scott Baldwin was a pioneer balloonist and U.S. Army major during World War I. He was the first American to descend from a balloon by parachute.

Katherine Stinson American aviator

Katherine Stinson was a pioneering American aviator. She set flying records for aerobatic maneuvers, distance, and endurance. Stinson taught at her family's aviation school.

Bernetta Adams Miller American aviator

Bernetta Adams Miller was a pioneering woman aviator who was the fifth licensed woman pilot in the United States. She led a colorful life including winning a Croix de Guerre in World War I and being one of the people standing between Albert Einstein and the public at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.

Thea Rasche Germanys first female aerobatics pilot

Thea Rasche, was Germany's first female aerobatics pilot.

Curtiss Flying School

The Curtiss Flying School was started by Glenn Curtiss to compete against the Wright Flying School of the Wright brothers. The first example was located in San Diego, California.

Neta Snook Southern Pioneer Aviator

Mary Anita "Neta" Snook Southern was a pioneer aviator who achieved a long list of firsts. She was the first woman aviator in Iowa, first woman student accepted at the Curtiss Flying School in Virginia, first woman aviator to run her own aviation business and first woman to run a commercial airfield. Yet "Snooky", as her friends called her, was fated to be remembered for her relationship to Amelia Earhart. Her autobiography I Taught Amelia to Fly aptly captures the essence of her fame, she was forever linked to the Earhart mystique as her first instructor.

Elinor Smith US aviator

Elinor Smith was a pioneering American aviator, once known as "The Flying Flapper of Freeport". She was the first woman test pilot for both Fairchild and Bellanca. She was the youngest licensed pilot in the world at age 16.

Charles Keeney Hamilton was an American pioneer aviator nicknamed the "crazy man of the air". He was, in the words of the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission, "known for his dangerous dives, spectacular crashes, extensive reconstructive surgeries, and ever present cigarette" and was "frequently drunk". He survived more than 60 crashes.

References

  1. 1 2 Scott's first flight took place between September 2–12, 1910, but there is no verifiable evidence for an exact date so the Early Birds of Aviation certified Scott's achievement as occurring on the averaged date of September 6. Some U.S. institutions, such as the Smithsonian, prefer to give the earliest possible date of September 2.
  2. Blanche Stuart Scott Find-a-grave bio
  3. National Women's Hall of Fame, Blanche Stuart Scott

Further reading