In 1910, seven years after the Wright brothers’ historic first flight, Bessica Raiche flew a plane her husband had built.
In 1911 Harriet Quimby became the first U.S. woman to get a pilot’s license, and in 1912 she was the first woman to fly across the English Channel. But she died not long afterward, when she was thrown from her open cockpit in midair (there were no seat belts).
A few women of color were among the early aviators. Anna Low, the first Chinese American woman to fly, took to the air in 1919, although she did not have a license.
Bessie Coleman became the first U.S. woman to earn an international pilot’s license, in 1921, after being denied a U.S. license because she was an African American.
A popular stunt pilot, Coleman died in 1926 when she, like Harriet Quimby, was jolted out of her plane.
Crowds loved to watch stunt pilot Blanche Scott as she flew upside down or dove 4,000 feet and then suddenly leveled out.