Blanche Stuart Scott (April 8, 1884 – January 12, 1970), also known as Betty Scott, was possibly the first American woman aviator.
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.
Wikipedia Qu“Blanche Scott.” Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blanche_Scott. Accessed 16 July 2022.ote
Adventures in Aviation
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. 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.
23rd October 1910: Blanche Stuart Scott, the first American woman to pilot an aircraft in public
Scott grew up in Rochester, New York, where her wealthy businessman father bought an early automobile that she soon learned to drive. When she was 20 years o…