Biography of Early Female Flyer Blanche Stuart Scott Part 2

About an early woman flyer Blanche Stuart Scott, history and biography of the pilot.

INTO THE WILD BLUE YONDER--NOTED AVIATORS

BLANCHE STUART SCOTT

(1892-1970)

She signed a contract for instruction and membership in the Curtiss exhibition team. Curtiss was hesitant about the deal. He said if Blanche were killed or injured while flying it would set aviation back 20 years. Blanche was firm, however, and finally Curtiss relented. Blanche made her first solo flight on Sept. 2, 1910. Curtiss dubbed her "the first woman professional pilot." With Bud Mars, at Fort Wayne, Ind., on Oct. 23, 1910, she became the first woman to make a professional airplane flight. After five months with the Curtiss team, she had a bid from Capt. Thomas Baldwin to join his flying show at Mineola, Long Island. An offer of 50% of the take persuaded her. While at Mineola, in a fit of temper after a dispute with Baldwin, she got into her plane and flew 30 mi. to West Islip, N.Y., and back. This event was heralded by newspapers as the first longdistance flight by a woman. In the same year at Mineola, Blanche racked up another accidental "first." Charles R. Witteman, builder of Baldwin biplanes, wrote about it thus: "Right after Blanche S. Scott took off toward the East, Henry 'Doc' Walden, a New York dentist and amateur plane builder, took off towards the North. Collision over the center of the field seemed imminent. Blanche went almost vertical left, and using a bank for almost a 180 deg. turn, rolled back to normal horizontal flight and landed." This closely resembled the "Immelmann turn" later developed and made famous in W.W. I.

In 1919 Blanche teamed with Glenn Martin's Flying Circus. The two-year partnership netted her about $5,000 a week. Martin also built planes, which he said Blanche would test-fly for flaws. So Blanche became the first female test pilot.

In 1913 she signed a contract with Ward Aviation Company for 70% of all exhibition fees plus a weekly retainer of $100 when she wasn't booked. In her first exhibition, at Madison, Wis., a throttle wire parted and she crashed, breaking 41 bones. When she recovered, she decided her piloting days were over.

Two of her three marriages ended with friendly partings. The successful marriage lasted 10 years; she and her husband operated a motion picture production studio on Long Island, where Blanche wrote and appeared in a few early silents. At her husband's death, she settled into a 14-year career as a writer in Hollywood. She also became a radio commentator in California, until her mother's terminal illness took her back to Rochester, where she continued in radio work for several years.

She never lost the urge to be first. In 1948, on the 38th anniversary of her first solo flight, Blanche S. Scott was the first woman jet passenger. A few months before her death, an interviewer asked her if she was a "Women's Libber." She replied, "We never heard that term in my day. I shaped my life and career on the single idea that a woman could do anything within reason a man could do and she deserved equal credit, recognition, and pay for comparable accomplishments."

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